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Expatriate Managers

In: Business and Management

Submitted By LizzyTwist
Words 970
Pages 4
International assignments are often the key in developing good managerial teams in the new foreign subsidiary as expatriates can transfer their knowledge on how the company operates overall. In some MNE’s it is considered necessary for the senior managers to spend some time abroad to build the experience of running the company internationally so they can use that knowledge to fulfil the top corporative posts.

The costs of sending expatriates abroad is high, in addition to paying expatriates salary organisations have to pay the cost of relocating the person and his/her family, pay for the house, give living allowances, special family benefits etc. Often organisations pay for the locating a job for the spouse and even pay them salary till they find a job, this is known as ‘trailing spouse’ benefits.

The research show that many international assignments had failed. Traditionally a failed assignment is when the expatriate come back home before he/she is scheduled to do so. However a ‘failed’ assignment can also be defined in terms of poor quality performance & not meeting the expectations of their supervisors. Research done by Black & Gregerson (1999) show that 10%-20% of expatriates returned home before the scheduled to do so. 30% of expatriates fail to meet the expectations of their supriviours and 25% soon left their jobs after returning home.

Why did so many assignments failed? The three main reseasons for the international assignemnts failer is the expatriates spouse/partner failer to adapt to the new culture/place/way of living, family concers and the expatraites inabily to adapt.

Another problem with expatriates is the process of repatriation. The perception of organisations is that all it is need for repatriation process is to buy the expatriate and his/her family a plane ticket back home, however the studies suggests that the process of moving back home after spending a long time period in another country is as difficult as moving away, especialy that the moving back doesn’t have that ‘excitement’ feel as moving away. It is hard to move back home for the expatriates also because of the spouse/family, putting the roots down again, finding a new accommodation, school for the kids etc. When moving back home expatriates also felt that they have lost their status, power and freedom they had when they were away doing the assignment. They often didn’t know how and where do they fit back into their organisation as their position could have been taken by somebody else or terminated, and 25% of then left their jobs with the company soon after returning from assignment. One of the resons where because they felt an urge to show and share their international experience, all the skills they learned etc however the organisations where not ready to find a way to use this information. The organisational lack of concern about the repatriation often left expatriates finding it impossible to settle back into the lives they had before the assignment. Reverse culture shock

The organisations should have trained the expatriates and warned them and their families about the difficulties associated with the repatriation to reduce the risk of ‘reverse culture shock’.

The organisations often picked expatriates for the wrong resons. Without considering how likely the person gonna do a good job or not pay attention how suitable they are.

As mentioned earlier ofthen In some MNE’s it is considered necessary for the senior managers to spend some time abroad to build the experience of running the company internationally so they can use that knowledge to fulfil the top corporative posts. Knowing this the senior managers often put themselves forward for the international assignemnts to get the promotion in future , without realising that it might be very hard for them to move and adapt to the new country. Organisations often pick expatriates on the bases of their technical ability and knowledhe in the home country without thinking what skills that job requires in the foreign country, in the other words they don’t evaluate / see the job position in foreign country in terms of what/how things are don’t there, what are the usual responsibility and what managers should do in that specific country. How well the expatriate can adapt to the new country and culture wasn’t prioritized. Also organisations didnt consider if the expatriate had family/spouse/ kids.

From the past studies and researches the organisations now should take into account several points when selecting the expatriate. The selection process should take into account the ability of EM to adapt quickly and effectively.
The family/suce issue .
The Nick Forster article 2000 international journal of HRM – the myth of international manager shows his study on how pcycological well being is of the expatriates and there spunce. His study shows that the stress level of the spouce is always greater then the stress level of expatriate. Here comes the issue of the dual careers issue, the way moving to a friegn country can benifit one partner and negative influence on others carrer.

Because sending the Expatriate to a foreign subsidiary is quite costly organisations should pay great attention to the selection process of the expatriates to prevent the failer of the international assignment.

The families and parterns of expatriates should be included in the formal preparation programme. There should be three types of training, language training, diversity training and cross cultural traning – diversity training will hel expatriates to deal with the diversity in the work team, cross cultural traning will help EM to learn what behaivor they are expacted to behaiver, develop right expectations about the culture and the country. This is espaesially important if E is going to a compeltly different culture like if an American Expatriate will go to Asia.

Cross cultural traning is particulary very important .

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