•The explosive growth of the e-business/knowledge sectors, coupled with rapid developments in communication technology and the evolution of business relationships to include more international joint ventures, have both enabled and fuelled a greater need for movement of individuals across the globe. •In the wake of globalisation wherein knowledge of global business markets and processes is now necessary for competitive advantage, international assignments continue to be important for employers and employees alike. •In particular, the emergence of markets such as China, India and Eastern Europe has had led to an increasing demand for managers with distinctive competences to manage in these countries. (Collings et al, 2006) •However, the context has altered and traditional models do not take into account quick-to-market demand and cost-effective deployment or enable increased cross-border volume for shorter assignment times. Furthermore, new models need to be flexible to the changing work-life requirements of employees. •As a result there is increasing prominence of alternative forms of IAs (Fenwick, 2004) •In this essay I intend to critique the key issues surrounding the different IAs available and outline their respective benefits.
THE TRADITIONAL IA
•Edström and Galbraith (1977) proposed three motives for IAs: position fillers, as a means of management development and as a means of organisational development. •Returning assignees are vital for knowledge transfer: how the organisation is perceived internationally and the business climate, cultural patterns and market systems of the host countries. •IAs also help individuals develop global leadership skills as a result of dealing with the complexities of transacting business outside national borders (Levy et al 1999). •However, there are a number of factors contributing to their decline in popularity:
-IAs usually involve leaving the home country for 3-5 years along...