Global Assignments:Pre-departure Training Program

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Table of Contents

Global Assignments:1

Pre-departure Training Program1


The Training Program4

Session A: selection and expectations5

Part A: Country Briefing5

Part B Candidate Assessment Program6

Session B: Preparing expatriates and their families10

Part A (1 hour): Surviving culture shock10

Part B (1 hour): Practical problems12

Conclusions and Wrap-up13

Session C: Relocation and repatriation13

Part A (30 mins) Prepare the employee and family for relocation13

Part B (1 hour) Repatriation programme15

Part C (30 minutes): Three Case Studies in Point17


Session B Appendices20

1.Case study for Section A20

2.Role playing game for Section A21

3.Case study for Section B23

4.Simulation game for Section B24

Session C Appendix - PowerPoint Presentation26


Global assignment of managers has been a traditional method of operating far flung commercial empires since the days of Robert Clive and the British East India Company. The importance of transferring knowledge, upskilling remote or local managers and instilling best practice throughout a multinational organization has long been recognized as a source of competitive advantage for those firms able to expand successfully. The failure of rate of global assignments, and indeed international expansion, has throughout history been nothing less than fantastic. The vast majority of firms have been unable to master operations across multiple cultures, political systems or levels of economic development. The need to simply find out what is going on has, in the past, been the major motivator for global assignment. The advent of modern communication and travel technology has arguably reduced the need for "inspection" style assignments; however this role has been upgraded to the "mentoring" vocation of international managers whose primary purpose is to transfer knowledge. The plethora of technological marvels that enable cooperative endeavor expanding around the globe do little to change the fact that knowledge is "person bound" - acquired overtime through interaction with either tacit or explicit sources. Firms must transfer people between host and home countries because it is arguably still the only effective way to exchange culture, knowledge and experiences.

A number of issues arise for those individuals who are selected for, or who choose to embark upon international assignment. These issues may include practical, emotional/psychological or professional hurdles that limit the employee's effectiveness on assignment, or lead to early repatriation. Options for reducing the risks these potential dangers pose are only limited by finance and imagination, and extend to careful selection of employees for expatriate assignment, pre-departure training, and familiarization visits, mentoring from both the home and the host country, post-arrival training, regular return home visits, repatriation training and extensive communication between home and host.

The focus of this training program is on pre-departure training; i.e. preparing potential expatriate candidates and their partners for the experience of global posting before they embark on assignment. Pre-departure training is important because it is at this stage that candidates must determine their personal objectives within the context of the assignment and the firm's overarching goals. Training at this stage can equip expatriate candidates with the questions they need answered to ensure both the employee and the firm gain from the assignment. The advantages of pre-departure training lie in the safety of the home culture training environment, the ability to catch misapprehensions or poorly formed perceptions before they become costly mistakes. Pre-departure training provides those candidates who do go on to expatriate assignment with a point of reference between their new environment and their home culture - a way to recognize the...
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