Challenges of Expatriation and Repartriation

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Author: Teodora G. Nikolaeva Study Program: BscB(IM) Supervisor: Sérgio André Cavalcante

The Challenges of Expatriation & Repatriation

Department of Management Aarhus School of Business Aarhus University 2010

Bachelor Thesis

Teodora G. Nikolaeva

Abstract

The current study analyzes the challenges of expatriation and repatriation. After introducing the main aspects of expatriation and analyzing the main challenges the human resource managers face during this process an introduction and analysis of the repatriation process is made. The bachelor thesis uses a realistic method to analyze the quantitative primary data collected. After presenting and discussing the results from the questionnaires that were used to gather the primary data. Having analyzed the results a conclusion is made. The thesis is ends with a description of the main problems that limited the research. Together with that suggestions about some further research relevant for the investigation of expatriation and repatriation are made.

Keywords: Expatriation, Repatriation, Adjustment, Turnover Rate, Culture Shock

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Bachelor Thesis

Teodora G. Nikolaeva

Table of contents
1. Introduction 5 2. Theoretical background 8
2.1 Expatriation 8 2.1.1 Stages for selection and preparation of employees 8 A) Resourcing 8 B) Expatriate preparation and training 9 C) Cross-cultural training (CTT) 10 2.1.3 Stages during the expatriate stay in the host country 11 A) Oberg’s phases of adaptation 11 A1) Honeymoon 12 A2) Culture Shock 13 A3) Recovery 14 A4) Adjustment 14 2.2 Repatriation 15 2.2.1 Repatriation courses 15 2.2.1 Causes for repatriation failure and resignation from the employees 17 A) Repatriates’ expectations 17 B) Work-related changes 18 C) Socio-cultural changes 19

3. Methodology 20
3.1 Research Philosophies 20 3.2 Selecting Research Philosophy 21 3.3 Empirical Method 22 3.4 Data Collection 23

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Bachelor Thesis 3.4.1 The Questionnaire 23 3.4.2 Method of selection of the companies 24 3.4.3 The response rate 24 3.5 Data analysis 25

Teodora G. Nikolaeva

4. Presentation and discussion of results 26
4.1 Presentation of the results 26 4.1.1 Adaptation time and factors influencing it or it influences. 26 A) Duration of the expatriate stay 26 B) International assignments’ satisfaction 28 4.1.2 Human resource managers’ experience and resignation rate 30 4.1.3 The presence of repatriation program and the turnover rate 32 4.1.4 Domestic resignation rate and expatriates resignation rate 35 4.2 Answers of the research questions 37

5. Conclusion 39 6. Limitations 41 7. Further research 42 8. Bibliography 43 Appendix 1 46

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Bachelor Thesis

Teodora G. Nikolaeva

1. Introduction
Nowadays, being successful in the national market for a company is not enough. Due to globalization there have been many international investments and mergers and acquisitions. Because of these activities companies are required to think about new measurements to remain competitive in the global market. The necessity of transferring knowledge and developing international management has increased. In this meaning, expatriation and expatriates have become an essential part of international management and companies’ success in the global market. Expatriation is “the process of sending managers to another country to run a subsidiary of a multinational organization. Before departure, the process should include an extensive period of training and preparation to ensure that the managers are familiar with cultural differences, and to reduce the likelihood of culture shock” (Dictionary of Human Resource Management 2001, p. 120). After completing their international assignment successfully the expatriates return home and then the process of repatriation begins. Having in mind that companies are spending a huge amount of money on their expatriates, on average it costs two to three times more than having the same employee working in his home country, the...
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