International Human Resources Expatriate Assignment

Topics: Management, Expatriate, Organizational studies and human resource management Pages: 7 (2370 words) Published: March 25, 2013
Critically discuss the following statement. ‘An expatriate assignment is an important training and development tool, with international assignments being recognized as an important mechanism for developing international expertise.’| ||



The process expatriate assignment could be categorized as three stages. First, expatriate selection and given necessary information and pre-departure training for the expatriate assignment. Second, the expatriate serves in the international position. Finally, the expatiate returns to PCN as a repatriate (Bossard & Peterson, 2005). The importance of establishing foreign networks exhibits an increasing trend in the recent years due to the increasing level of globalization (Mendehall, 2001). One of the powerful tools to complete such mission was the use of expatriate assignment. It is crucial for multinational company (MNC) to develop a solid foundation before entering international marketing. However, numerous empirical researches shown that majority of expatriates preserved a neutral and sometimes negative attitude for the impact of expatriate assignment on their careers (Black, Gregersen, Mendenhall, & Stroh, 1999; Adler, 2001). On the other hand, the HR management from U.S. MNCs shows a positive feeling (Black et al., 1999). Arthur and Rousseau (1996) suggested that manager values benefits from expatriate assignment for more qualitative perspectives. Because of this feature, it is likely variation existing between the stated strategies and the actual IHRM policies and practices. Furthermore, the problem with repatriation becomes more significant with longer time period of expatriation process. Therefore, the expatriation focused here is on long-term assignment which longer than one year. Also, the capability of utilisation of expatriate assignment on training and development will be discussed from individual and corporate perspective.

Research (Tung, 1998) found the primary motivation for expatriate to accept an international assignment is they view the overseas position as essential to their subsequent career advancement. Furthermore, expatriate values the international assignment as a chance to acquire skills and expertise generally not available at home. This positive attitude towards expatriate assignment, despite the problem with expatriation failure, enhances the likehood of successful expatriation. One of the essential abilities to manage foreign environment is leadership development, it can be achieved by using expatriates (Newton, Hutchings & Kabanoff, 2007). Therefore, it is expected that the expatriate could improve leadership skills which could pursuit career advancement. However, the consequence of expatriate assignment is not necessary to be career advancement. The estimated failure rate of expatriate assignment ranges from a low as 3% to as high as 70% (Lorange, 2003:25). On the other hand, the company could also fail to capitalize upon their international experience because lack of adaptability. In either case, individual is likely to become unproductive or resign to other company upon return for best opportunities on their career development (Black et al, 1999). Consequently, the organization will lose the knowledge gained from the expatriate assignment and will make financial losses from attrition of repatriates. Also, reverse culture shock and adjustment faced by expatriates when they return from international positions could severely influence their performance. Crocitto and Sullivan and Carraher (2005) proposed the model of learning cycle, indicated that successful expatriate experience is more likely to be achieved if solid linkages between organizational mentors were created. It is known that people towards to carve their own careers rather than allowing corporate to sculpture it. Not surprisingly, individual career behaviours create organizational patterns and inadvertently build company expertise and shape company...
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