With the globalization of businesses, chances and challenges, the need for expatriates in international business becomes necessary. Global human resource managers need to realize and recognize the signs of potential global assignment failures and their impact on the business and long term objectives of the organization.
International assignments end in failure (when defined as a premature return) because of many factors that potentially affect the adjustment of expatriates such as cross- cultural training, individual factors, Job factors, organizational culture, organizational colonization as well as various non-work factors (Black, et al. , 1991). The processes of expatriate staffing and training programs are expensive and complex, particularly when the company has to pay taxes for the parent-company employee in both countries (Dresser, 2011).
Effective training programs for expatriates contributed to the growing awareness among business firms that the key to success rests with their ability to mobile and utilize their human resources in crafting and implementing new global business strategies (Seller & Lounge, 2007). Without proper training and a realistic Job preview, the expatriate will have a very hard time adjusting to his/her new surroundings (Anderson, 2008).
In May 2008, a survey by GAMMA Global Relocation identified three significant challenges facing corporations: finding suitable candidates for assignments, helping employees (and their families) complete their assignments, and retraining these employees once their assignments end. Hence, it is necessary for multinational corporations (Macs) to discuss the career prospects of expatriates according to the needs of the company or product strategy before expatriation.
In doing so, the international expatriates will be able to understand and know the direction of their employment training. In other words, international company managers can focus on providing expatriates with parent company information along with all the necessary support and help (Wang, 2008). In the past, many expatriate assignments were highly adored. Expatriates were usually assigned to relatively stable, desirable locations, received generous allowances, and often were viewed as receiving high-visibility training for corporate advancement (wry. Healthcare. Mom). Today, this trend seems o be reversed with more dissatisfaction noted with international assignments. Factors influencing the selection The illustrate; above shows the factors that influenced in expatriate selection. Technical ability, cross-cultural suitability, and family requirement are factors related to the individual, and cultural requirements, language, and NC requirement are influenced by the situation. In order to perform the specific task of the abroad assignments, the selected person needs to have the required technical and managerial skills.
The technical ability of candidates is a crucial criterion to consider Dowling & Welch, 2004) and in practice, it is one of the most commonly used criterion ( Cowlings et al. , 2007; Harris & Brewster, 1999; Thomas, 2002). The assessment of a candidate’s technical ability is seen as relatively easy as it is often based on previous Job performance, where evaluation records and statements form the person’s superiors are available. However, it must be remembered that past performance might not matter that much, when face with solving specific problems in a new foreign culture and environment (Dowling & Welch, 2004).
Expatriates needs to be able to work in new and often somewhat unfamiliar environments, and their cross-cultural suitability therefore needs to be considered (Dowling & Welch, 2004). According to Dowling and Welch (2004) important attributes to consider when assessing candidates’ cross-cultural suitability include cultural empathy, language skills, attitude toward new cultural empathy, and the importance for international managers to appreciate and respect different aspects of other cultures.
Furthermore, Hutching (2002) focuses on the importance of expatriates’ ability to tolerate differences in race, beliefs, and cultures including its customs and values. In practice, cross-cultural suitability is difficult to evaluate, since it has been hard to precisely define what factors should be included ( Dowling & Welch, 2004). One could look at personality traits of the candidates, as well as their attitude toward foreigners and ability to relate to those of different cultural background.
In addition Macs often emphasizes the importance of expatriates’ abilities to create and nurture relationships, but the means to measure such abilities are not always seen as accurate or reliable (ibid) It has been found that the expatriates family/spouse influence the expatriates success abroad (April & Imagining, 2007; Dowling & Welch, 2004; Harris & Brewster, 1999) and still few Macs focus enough on this aspect and families are not included in the selection process ( Dowling & Welch, 2004).
The adjustment of families can often be difficult, as families can suffer from the feeling of isolation due to inability to integrate into a new environment. The partner’s career, children’s disruption in education and the care of aging parents are aspects of family influences (ibid). Country/cultural Most of developed countries are changing their regulation to facilitate employment- elated immigration which allows international movement somewhat easier. For example: the European Union social allows for its citizens to move free for any member countries within the ELI.
The HER stuff must be update for any new legislative change in the host country in which the MEN is involved. Also some countries issue a work permit that granted to the expatriate only, so these countries may not permitted for the accompanying spouse or partner to work in the host country. Therefore, multinationals found that the reason for the selected candidate to reject the task of n international assignment the inability of the spouse to work in the host country. Further, the host country is an important element, so some countries that have war- torn regions and with high risk will not be suitable place to work.
Any members of family are considered an additional responsibility for the multinational and these multinational companies does not want to bear. Dowling and Welch (2004) state that the language skills of candidates need to be considered as another selection criterion, and that it is often included in the aspect of cross-cultural ability. However, some researchers wish to stress the importance of language skills as it influence the effectiveness of cross-cultural communication ( Smallish, 1998; April & imagining, 2007; Dowling & Welch, 2004).
Dowling and Welch (2004) state that the importance of adequate language skills differs depending on which kind of assignment it is and where it takes place. When adopting a corporate language which is different from the local language skills are viewed as crucial (ibid) Furthermore, NC requirements influence the selection decision and which selection criteria are considered. When considering expatriates for assignments in Joint ventures, negotiation skills are emphasized, while using expatriates in order to train locals, training skills are very important.
The duration of the assignment is another influencing factor, where family factors may not be as important if the assignment is for a shorter period ( Dowling & Welch, 2004). Case one: SAC Company background SAC is a global consumer goods company within the areas of personal care, tissues, packaging, and forest products. Motives There are two motives when the company decide to send the expatriate for abroad assignment. Firstly, the aspect of organizational development, through transfer of skill .
Secondly, the motive that developing individuals which can be a part of the managers assignment. SAC knows the cost of expatriates but they want to invest the expatriate who have the goal of staying in the company. In general SAC believes that the transfer skill, and knowledge for those who sent for abroad assignment can be beneficial as an example: expatriate from Europe sent for abroad assignment in which the country is being developed, where support is needed. The role of agents of erect control is nit preferable in the case of SAC for sending managers abroad as expatriate.
The most common are the agents of colonization; it is intended role of expatriate at SAC. Selection criteria SAC believes the important factors when they selecting expatriates these factors are technical ability, cross cultural suitability and family requirements. Evaluation is very important that the SODA will consider when they choose the most suitable person to send abroad. One of these evaluations is technical ability. The technical ability has reviewed earlier but it’s an important factor when it comes to select the expatriates.
Therefore, SAC is reviewed the personality attributes and inter-personal skills and match with specific abroad assignment. Another important criterion at SAC is cross cultural suitability. Also the tests applied by SAC to see the results of these tests such as the personality in relation to different aspects of culture and decisions. Family can affect the expatriates failure or success as SAC believes. Moreover, the cultural of another country can affect the expatriates performance and it can see in relation to the candidate’s personality.
The language skills of the expatriates are highly important to consider. For instance, in china English in accepted as business language while on the other hand in France the For instance needs to learn France language to do the business there. The current Job performance and previous experience are reviewed by SAC when selecting expatriates. Because the current Job performance and previous experience are factors which have impact on the expatriates knowledge and how he/she thinks and it will be more beneficial if the expatriates have international experience.
Case Two: Handbrakes Handbrakes is a universal bank which provides services in all banking areas. At Handbrakes the technical ability of the expatriates is a basic criterion for aboard assignment. At Handbrakes they believe that the knowledge of candidate is the specific business area is an important to perform well. In additional, the cross- cultural suitability of candidate is not important but it is considered. The importance of cross-cultural suitability at Handbrakes is how the candidate understands the new culture and how to deal with it.
The expatriates need to understand that their own culture is not a superior at that time. Furthermore, the families of the expatriate re not important as specific criterion. At Handbrakes the country or cultural requirement of host country is important and Handbrakes is looking what the expatriate candidate needs. The language skills can be considered and based on what the company is needs to fit the assignment requirements. Therefore, the current Job performance is highly important before sent the expatriate for abroad assignment and the candidate performance must be above the average.
At Handbrakes can evaluate the performance by management process that provide documented or spoken statement of how the employees are doing. This is very important because Handbrakes believes that the expatriate will gain the confident. The attributes of the expatriate candidate is considered such as personal responsibility, willingness to develop the organization to be able to constructively criticize and be self-confident. About the interpersonal skills are not important criterion but if the expatriate does not know how to deal with people him or she will not be selected.
Finally, the individual’s motivation of the expatriate needs to be considered and review the reasons for the expatiate wants to go out. Case Three: Electrocute Electrocute is a world leading company when it comes to home appliances and appliances for professional use. Selection criteria At Electrocute the expatriate needs to know the core value of Electrocute before he or she sends for abroad assignment, and also once the expatriates are abroad they need to be able to deliver their expertise and to have additional knowledge.
Generally, Electrocute Company chooses the expatriate who goes beyond the company’s expectations and gets the Job done within the company. As stated previously, Electrocute selects the expatriate for assignment who always good at what e or she does, so the technical ability of the expatriate is highly important. Therefore, some expatriate need to attain more specialized expertise, and other need to attain a more broad knowledge. The cross-cultural suitability of expatriate is reviewed but it is not considered as critical selection criterion.
When the evaluation has been made and the company takes the decision that the expatriate is approved for abroad assignment then the assignment is structured to include the family. The main language at Electrocute is English, so all employees within the company need to peak English. Additional language is not important, only in some cases. The point of view of the company is very important, so the expatriate does need to know of the host-country language.
The company looks at NC requirements; it is the basis important selection criteria. As stated previously, the high performance and exceed expectation these what the company can evaluate the expatriate and see he or she the performance of current Job and it is important to consider when select for abroad assignments, also other factors that influence the decision to choose the right person o select are personality and skills of the expatriate candidate. The technical ability is considered at all the companies when selecting expatriate.
Three companies are considered that the technical ability is highly important; while these companies are differing about the aspect of cross-cultural suitability of the expatriate candidates. SAC believes that it is important to look at, while Handbrakes looks at in small degree, despite Electrocute does not consider the technical ability important. At SAC the families is important when selecting the expatriate for abroad assignment. This statement presents limited support by the cases of handbrakes and Electrocute.
The problem about the country/ cultural requirements that there is no enough data. Using language is considered and depends on the situation. The companies are agreed about the aspect of NC requirements. Handshakes and Electrocute are looking for current Job performance as important criteria while, SAC is not consider an important but still provide data. Recommendation & Conclusion The increased internationalization around the world the rate of expatriation has grown significantly during the last years and has become a more important tool thin organizations.