Selection Criteria for International Assignment

Topics: Expatriate, Culture, Employment Pages: 11 (3289 words) Published: March 12, 2011
Selection criteria for International staffing
Final selection of candidates out of the short-listed names needs to be made with care. Several studies have been conducted to identify the requisites a foreign assignee should possess, if he or she were to be successful as an expat. One such study was made by Tung in 1981. After an extensive review of literature on the selection of expats, the researcher identified eighteen variables and grouped them into four categories: technical competence, relational skills, ability to cope with variables and family situation. Technical Competence:-

Technical skills are of paramount importance to perform successfully in his or her job. This is particularly true in an expat who is located away from the headquarters and any advice or help in case of doubt is not easily available. Relational skills:-

This refers to the ability of the individual to deal effectively with his/her superiors, peers, subordinates and clients. This requisite becomes all the most critical in an expat who needs to function in an alien environment. Relational skills include multicultural sensitivity, interpersonal skills and language and communication skills. Ability to cope with Environmental Variables:-

In the domestic situation, environment comprises political-legal, culture, technological and economic factors. Knowledge about these factors is essential for a manager to be successful. In an International context, the cultural environment of the host country is more significant. The expat should be knowledgeable about the host country nationals, their tastes, attitudes, beliefs, practices, customs and manners. Knowledge about International laws adds to the competitive strength of the expat. International managers of today need to see the world not just as a collection of national markets, but also as a source of scarce information knowledge and expertise- the key resources required in the development and diffusion of innovation worldwide. The global manager should be open-minded. These traits help him or her come out of a parochial mindset and ask such question as, “What is that we could learn from the leading-edge environmental trends in Germany? Or the most sophisticated consumers in Japan? Or from our toughest competitor who happens to be coming at us out of India?” Just as important as open-mindedness is the ability of the global manager to legitimizing divers views in an organization, including those based on cultural differences. Family situation:-

This refers to the ability of the expat’s family to adjust to living in the foreign environment. This factor determines the performance or lack of it of the assignee. Another insightful study was made by Mark Mendenhall and Gary Oddou in 1985. The two researchers identified 4 major dimensions that could influence an expat’s selection and adjustment. These dimensions are:- * Self orientation includes activities that contribute to the expat’s self-confidence, self esteem and mental hygiene. * Others orientation consists of activities and attributes that enhance the expat’ ability to interact effectively with host citizens and develop lasting friendships and close relationships with them and works more easily in overseas assignments. * Perceptual dimension is concerned with the ability of expats to understand why foreign nationals behave the way they do and the ability to make correct attributions about the reasons or causes of host-nationals’ behavior. * Cultural toughness dimension refers to the situation rather than to people. Cultural toughness can modify the importance of the first three dimensions. In culturally tough countries (countries that are culturally very different from the home country), the first three dimensions became even more important than in culturally similar countries. For example, American expatriates assigned to a small village in Kerala shall have a tougher time in adjusting than if they had been assigned to Sydney in...
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