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pre-assignment training for expatriate

pre-assignment training for expatriate

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Published by: indorikp08 on Apr 13, 2010
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03/05/2012

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To what extent do you agree with the argument that pre-assignment training for expatriate managers isof a little value compare to a good selection?
 With the acceleration of the internationalization of business and careers, more and morecompanies need to remain competitive, to export or relocate abroad.
 
I
f companies intend togrow internationally today as in the future, their managers must be able to respond in acontext of globalization. They need to formulate and implement strategies, invent and usetechnologies, create and coordinate information in an international scale.
 
Although theinternational mobility has become largely trite, the experience of the last thirty years hasshown the limits of expatriation. Expatriation is not considered anymore as an infalliblesolution when a company decides to set up overseas.
 
Companies recognize the need toprepare, assess, and assist employees throughout the experience of expatriation.
 
What cana company do to minimize the risk of failure for expatriation? To understand the complexityand success of an expatriate assignment, its important to understand what an expatriate isand what major problems he has to face during the expatriation process .What is the role of pres-assignment selection and what importance it can play in the process of expatriation?
I
sintercultural training necessary, important, essential? All these issues will be examined for abetter comprehension of the expatriation problem.One of the first questions that a company manager can ask when the expatriation issue isdiscussed is "why an expatriate rather than a local employee?
 
I
t is estimated that theaverage cost of an expatriate is a half times twice than a local;
 
clearly, an expatriate is muchmore expensive.
 
Moreover a local manager has a greater control over its own environmentand over the cultural specificities of his country.
 
The main reason that militates in favour of expatriation is strategic
.
Often expatriation is used as a last resort after considering otherpossibilities
.
Sometimes, it is necessary to send on-site managers native of the country, lessinvolved than nationals managers of the host country and who understand the advantage of the firm strategy. On the other hand, sometimes the expertise required by a company justdoes not exist in the concerned countries.
³
I
nternational mobility", "export" or "expatriations are the terms employed for a personsent abroad by his organization during a temporary period.
 
Expatriation is an inter-enterprise mobility: expatriate requires to be full time settled in the host country andbenefits from a local employment contract.
 
Expatriation is only temporary and its duration islimited to avoid problems when returning to the country of origin.
 
Whatever the cause andissues of expatriation, the employee may experience some difficulties.
 
The expatriate or hisfamily can be frustrated or stressed, and can desire an early return to the home country(Deresky, 2008). One of the main reasons for the high failure rate for expatriate is
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misidentification of the selection criteria established by businesses.
 
(Harvey, 1996).
 
About 20per cent of expatriates are not going to the end of their contract and about one third of those who remain do not meet the expectations of their society (Black and Gregersen,1999).According to Deresky ( Deresky, 2006)the main components of a successful companywithin a process of internationalization is to have the right person at the right place at theright time. But this theory is not easy to apply.
 
I
s it sufficient to recruit the ideal candidate to ensure the success of a mission abroad?
 
Asuccessful expatriation is a well prepared expatriation. Departures and difficulties that theemployee will meet should be anticipated hence the importance of the good and effectiveselection.
 
(Garvey, Jassawalla, & Truglia, 2004) in their research article, recommend thatcompanies establish a clear profile and a list of expectations in accordance to the expatriatethey want to recruit.
 
What are skills required what profile a candidate should have to takesuch responsibilities?
 
The recruitment method and tools used by HR are largely the same asfor a national one.
 
Many companies spend a lot of money to carry out these projects,although the failure rate expatriation is very high. For this reason,
 
companies cannot affordmistakes in recruitment. Several researchers argue that candidate leads to failure of themission because a poor selection process (Dowling, 1999).
I
t seems therefore essential todevelop a list of selection factors which permit to select the right candidate and to minimizeany risk of failure. Jean-Luc Cerdin (2002) speaks about adaptability criteria as a qualitywhich permits the expatriate adaptation.
 
Adaptation is a crucial issue to the success of expatriation.
 
Expatriate must be able to live differently, to leave a familiar environment, toadapt easily to other conditions of life governed by a different language and culture. Heneeds to have an "intercultural sensitivity.
I
ndeed, the expatriate who is going to workabroad with international teams meets different phases before being able to adapt to othercultures.
 
Black and Mendenhal explain that there is a first stage called Honeymoon" inwhich the expatriate is fascinated by the new culture he is facing.
 
This period usuallyextends from few weeks to several months.
 
The next phase is called "Culture Shock: theexpatriate is disappointed, frustrated, confused and anxious because of the new culture,customs and values.
 
During
 
the
 
adjustment stage the expatriate become aware of to theimportance of adapting to standards.
 
He tries to adapt and blend into the crowd, to extendits relational network. Finally the last stage is the adaptation one where the expatriatesucceed in adapting to the host country and construct interpersonal relationships.
 
Theadaptation is the ultimate level where the expatriate managed to adapt to the country'sculture, local customs and is able to build relationships. He understands and acceptsdifferences.
 
To alleviate or minimize the failure, the company must identify- using aneffective selection- which candidate may resist the best this phenomenon of culture shock(Deresky, 2006). .
I
ts possible to highlight several selection criteria which can be regarded as key success orfailure factors for expatriate. The first one is the professional competences for the job (Tung,
 
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1981) .
 
I
t is quite natural that companies base their selection on technical and managerialskills for a particular position.
 
I
f candidates are recruited internally, the company can thenverify the performance completed during their last missions.
 
However, many studies showthat selection based on expatriate expertise is often overvalued by firms (Dowling, 1999)
 
(Swaak, 2005), (Chew.J, 2004).
 
However this criterion alone does not ensure the success of the mission. The second criteria refers to the personal competences of the expatriate(Tung,1981) .
 
The expatriate personality is recognized for being a dominant element of success (Tung cited by Dowling, 1999) (Harvey, 2001).
 
I
t is however important to stress onthe difficulty in defining the capabilities of an individual. Above all, the candidate must bemotivated to emigrate and have a real desire to work abroad and experience a newculture
:
in this way
 
he could perform his task with pleasure and tend to work harder to reachhis goal. The personality and tenacity of candidate should be dominant criteria to checkduring the selection. Expatriate has to be flexible, possess relationship skills (Ronen 1989) beopen-minded, self-confident (Mendenhall and Odou, 1985) and be interested in othercultures, especially the culture he is going to meet. Empathy is another key issue inexpatriation; it represents the ability of the expatriate to be in a non-judgmental approach.
 
Thanks to empathy
  ,
the individual may understand why people from other cultures thinkdifferently from him
.
The flexibility and the resistance to uncertainty permit the expatriateto adjust its behaviour in different situations.
 
I
n intercultural situations, it is necessary to beable to adapt to the practices of host countries and not to apply the methods learned andapplicable in its native country. A non-judgmental approach is an important means to workwith people different without prejudice. This capability should be implemented whenexpatriate interact with local people. The family status acts directly on the adjustment of expatriates (Dowling, 1999).
 
Multinationals should include in the selection process thefamily dimension in order to detect any reluctance for the family to expatriate.
 
Briody andChristman (1999) stated that spouses encounter more difficulties in adapting thanexpatriates.
 
I
ndeed, the adaptation of the partner and the adaptation of the expatriate areclosely linked.
 
Lots of expatriation mission failed because of inadaptability of the partner inforeign countries.
 
Thus, some companies should interviews the expatriate partner's in thefinal stages of selection in order to identify possible risks of reluctance of the mission.
 
I
t is also that the company evaluate language skills as an important factor of key success forthe expatriate (Dowling, 1999).
 
Language barrier is a disability that reduces the quality of work by increasing the risk of not being understood.
Understand and being understood is abasic but important issue for expatriates.
Language differences are considered a majorobstacle to communication between individuals from different backgrounds and also areason of amplified culture shock. Once the company has identified the most importantcriteria to be met by candidates in order to be in line with the company strategy, the nextstep is how to evaluate the criteria and how doing the selection.
 
Most companies tend touse just a few recruitment tools when there are many (L. Stroh, 1998).
 
The internationalrecruitment method and tools used by HR are largely the same as for a national recruitment.The first one will be the study of the curriculum vitae which permits to analyse the

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