The world economy is moving away from the traditional economic system where national markets were considered as distinct entities which were isolated from each other by trade barriers of distance, time and culture. This has been in place since the advent of globalisation. In a bid for internationalisation, companies tend to use expatriates which serves as a home manager sent to overseas subsidiaries for assignment. They represent a costly and sometimes unsuccessful undertaking but yet it remains a strategy for multinational cooperation’s to facilitate their communication process between the parent company and its subsidiaries, aids in establishing country linkages’ and perhaps increase the firms understanding of international operations. The aim of this essay is to analyse the traditional concept of expatriation and the alternatives which organisations opt for due to its presumed high cost of funding and failure. In doing this, we shall examine the roles of an expatriate to an organisation. Also, we have a discussion on the problems of Expatriation which makes organisations seek for other alternatives. And finally, there will be a recommendation for an organisation to forfeit its plan to abandon its expatriation programme highlighting the side effects and disadvantages of the limited alternatives at hand.
WHO IS AN EXPATRIATE?
The traditional concept of expatriation according to Dowling and Welch (2004) sees expatriate as an employee who is being transferred from his home base to a foreign country in a company’s international operation. Mendenhall et al.(1995) define expatriate as one who is “living or working in a country of which he or she is not a citizen and who can be classified as possessing skills critical t the success of performance of foreign subsidiaries.” ROLES OF AN EXPATRIATE
The roles of the expatriate shall be examined using the four general approaches of international staffing which are: i) Ethnocentric Approach: Due to lack of qualified local managers, Parent country nationals dwell in major spot in the foreign subsidiary and this implies that the subsidiary relies on the home country for its decisions. A couple of setbacks arise from this approach in terms of limited or no promotion for Home country nationals, a wide range of income difference between the Parent Country Nationals and home country nationals. ii) Polycentric Approach: In this approach home country nationals occupy positions in the foreign subsidiary. This approach minimises language barrier, and usually home country nationals are less expensive. The downside of this approach can be linked to lack of communication between the subsidiary and Parent country with little or no chance of promotion for home country nationals as they cannot be promoted to headquarter. iii) Geocentric Approach: This approach deals with the selection of people based on their qualification. In the sense that the best gets selected.. Setbacks in this approach occur when host governments prefer to employ locals because of labour issues. iv) Regiocentric Approach: This approach segments the organisations business into various geographic regions. And this permits the staff of the organisation to travel only with the region. The roles of an expatriate can thus be identified in relation to the approaches identified above as follows: Expatriates are used as a means or source of technology transfer to the foreign subsidiary. This is achieved by dispatching qualified PCN’s to locations whereby there are no qualified locals. PCN’s are used as tools to incorporate the company’s culture into the...