Expatriate Success and Failure

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Executive Memorandum
Re: Expatriate Success and Failure

Under thriving globalization the success of expatriates is more crucial today than ever before. Even though exact expatriate failure rate is not available, it is essential that every expatriate succeeds on foreign assignment due to incurred cost for transfer, accommodation, salary, and trips home. Additional opportunity cost includes loss of future business and reputation in foreign community. The expatriate failure means either premature return or departure from organization shortly after arriving back. The reasons behind early return are inability to adapt to new culture, family issues, and failure to adjust to a new workplace or find common ground with coworkers. The departure from the organization upon return are caused by failure to adjust to the changed work environment, different than expected position in company, as well as tempting offers from other organizations. Despite the severity of those problems almost all of them can be prevented and foreseen during selection and orientation processes. The company should look for expatriate that is first of all willing to work abroad, as well as displays human relation skills, has previous overseas experience and knowledge of languages, is open and able to adapt to new experiences. The family situation is should also be taken into account, expatriate should receive help in finding proper educational facility for children and workplace for spouse. After the selection process is complete the company has to provide clear and specific guidelines that grantee consistency in administration of expatriates. During the orientation expatriate should receive cultural sensitivity training by being briefed on local history, policy, geography, climate, housing, schools and entertainment, as well as, customs, traditions and gender roles within the community. Language courses are required. The orientation should include simulations that will force the employee to face the cultural difference in unfamiliar setting in order to deal with emotional discomfort and solve the communication problem. Finally repatriation of expatriate should include prior preparation for expatriate’s arrival back by selecting new position that suits the attained experience and expertise. Employee should be reintroduced to the staff and briefed on the changes in the company environment that took place during his absence. For quick assimilation he should be placed in a team of experienced staff. Every sign of dissatisfaction and lack of motivation should alarm management; the problems should be discussed and dealt with whithin the company. All above mentioned recommendations were gathered from various sources and personally analyzed. Expatriate success and failure.

The general definition of an expatriate is anyone who lives outside their native country. In business world it implies an employee who was sent on foreign assignment to manage operations in a different country. The need for expatriates is determined by the lack of qualified and experienced workers in the given country, or effort to provide international experience for talented employees. Some other reasons may include sustaining organizational culture, transferring knowledge and creating a human “link” between the headquarters and the foreign company. Even though foreign assignments were always popular, the success of such is crucial for the companies today more than ever. In order to thrive under globalization, every company should establish an effective communication system between all of its units and be able to control operation and production across the vast distances. The understanding of cultural context, customs, traditions, beliefs and values in given company contributes to the productive business outcomes in a new country. The success and failure of expatriate is defined by two variables, success during the assignment - which entails completion of all tasks and improvement in...
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