Why Expatrie Fail

Topics: Expatriate, Management, Cross-cultural communication Pages: 8 (2429 words) Published: December 11, 2012
Why Expatriate Fail?|
How to be successful.|


Word count: 2010 words

Contents Page
1. Introduction3
2. Definitional of Expatriate 3
3. Expatriate failure3
4.1 Family stress 4
4.2 Cultural Inflexibility4
4.3 Emotional Immaturity5
4.4 Responsibility Overload5
4. Recommendations 5
5.5 Cross-cultural training6
5.6 Improvement process6
5.7 Compensation 7
5.8 Training and management development 8
5. Conclusion 9

1. Introduction

Many organizations are increasingly doing business aboard and expatriate failure is a growing concern and this is widely research by both academics and HR practitioners. Likewise, the firm is about to send its first batch of employees to run the operations in a new subsidiary, it is an area of concern. Therefore this report will explain on why such assignments fail and will recommend solutions on how to overcome such failures.

2. Definitional of Expatriate

An expatriate is a home-country person whom has been sent to a different county for an assignment. The term is often using in the context of professionals send aboard by the companies, as opposed to locally hired staff. They represent a costly and sometimes unsuccessful undertaking, yet expatriation remains a strategy for multinational corporations for several reasons. Among these reasons is the potential to facilitate the communication process between the parent location and its subsidiaries, as well as across subsidiaries, aid in establishing country linkages and increase the firm's understanding of international operations. There are several issues that make using expatriates both desirable and challenging.

3. Expatriate failure

Expatriate failure is usually defined as a posting that either ends prematurely or is considered ineffective by senior management. Most research into the matter has come to the conclusion that failure rates are high and can vary between 10% and 50% depending on the country. Emerging countries such as those of Southeast Asia are considered higher risk than so-called advanced nations. The costs of failure have been estimated by numerous means with widely varying results. Despite the lack of clarity, it is clear that a failed assignment in an overseas location is considerably more expensive than one occurring closer to home. Below are the main factors of an unsuccessful expatriate assignment.

4.1 Family Stress

Most expatriates are challenged and excited to be in their new postings. They need to spend a lot of time at work since they are under pressure to adapt to the new culture and their overall responsibilities are often larger than they have experienced before. 

As a result, wives of expatriates spend a lot of time by themselves and trailing spouses are still usually female and are cut-off from their own family and friends. At the same time, the wife is usually dealing with problems for which she has no previous experience. All through this, she will probably discover that suitable employment for her is next to impossible in an emerging country – seriously damaging her own long-term career. It is no surprise that it is generally the trailing spouse who suffers the greatest culture shock in the new country. The result can be an unhappy spouse who does her best to impair the performance of the expatriate manager. 

Total marriage breakdown is not an uncommon result. Unofficial numbers from the Asian Development Bank (a large development organization modelled after the World Bank) are that upwards of 50% of their expatriate’s marriages fail due to the stress of offshore postings. The consequence is that many expatriate postings are either terminated early or the performance of the expatriate managers is impaired.

3.2 Cultural Inflexibility

It is common for inexperienced expatriate...
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