International Human Ressources: the Repatriation Process

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Many expatriate employees encounter problems that limit their contribution to the company when they return home. How can we explain these problems and how may a firm reduce the occurrence of such problems?

A largely overlooked but critically important issue in the training and development of expatriate is to prepare them for re-entry into their own home country organization. Repatriation is defining as the activity of bringing the expatriate back to the home country. When return at home, expatriates face an organization that doesn’t know what they have done for the last few years, doesn’t know how to use their new knowledge, and doesn’t particularly care. This ‘re-entry shock’ often occurs as people are less prepared for their return home to present problems of adjustment.

There are many job-related and social factors which may cause re-entry problems for the repatriate. The prime job-related factors identify is career anxiety due to no post-assignment guarantee of employment. Many firms were not able to offer jobs upon repatriation. Moreover, loss of visibility and isolation is a variable that cause problems for repatriates. For instance, a lack of information or the lack of contact with the home organization may increase the level of anxiety. Changes in the home workplace like merger or acquisition are usually accompanied by job shedding and can affect also the reintegration of the expatriate. Career anxiety is one moderating factor, but others may also lead to work adjustment problems. The problem is that an international assignment is a condition for career progression for employees, but often there is no position for the repatriate and the re-entry position may be a less challenging job with reduced responsibility and status. This position gives the impression that experiences and skills the employee has acquired during the international assignment are devalued. The third factor is to coping with new role demands. Often, the home country no considers...
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