23 Nov Expats can face both health and security issues when overseas Identify and discuss 3 major issues that might impact the safety of expatriates living abroad in Turkey. As a Global HR manager, w
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Question 1: (Read chapters 1 and 2)
Question 2: (Read chapters 3 and 4)
Question 3: (Read chapter 5)
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Question 1: (Read chapter 1 and 2)
Expats can face both health and security issues when overseas. Identify and discuss 3 major issues that might impact the safety of expatriates living abroad in Turkey. As a Global HR manager, what are the three main steps that you would take to ensure the safety of ex-pats in your organization who were posted to this country?
Include at least 2 references and include in-text citations from the class materials ONLY
Question 2: (Read chapter 3 and 4)
What are the three phases of expatriate training? How is this different from domestic training for new employees?
Include at least 2 references and include in-text citations from the class materials ONLY
Question 3: (Read chapter 5)
Choose a country – if possible, one that you have personal experience with. Explain why, in your opinion, this would be a challenging country for an expatriate coming from the U.S. If possible, use a personal example or an example of someone you know. Select the top three challenges you believe this expatriate would face and present your recommendations for overcoming these challenges.
Support your rationale with at least TWO resources from the class materials
HRD Strategies for Expatriate Development: Review of Current Strategies and Potentials
of Expatriate Mentoring
Eunok Alice Kim
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Expatriates are critical human resources and means of global organizations. Through review of literature,
this paper examines HRD strategies that have been utilized to develop expatriates for international
assignments, identifies gaps in current HRD strategies, and investigates unique potentials of expatriate
mentoring contributing expatriate development in all three stages of expatriation.
Keywords: International Human Resource Development, Mentoring, Expatriate Development
One of the most influential factors that are shaping the Human Resource Development (HRD) field is globalization.
Globalization focuses on integration of business activities on a global basis and leads companies to locate important
activities such as production, marketing, and R& D in those countries where opportunities are best (Adler, 2002;
Evans, Pucik, & Barsoux,2002).
Expatriation and successfully managing expatriation have been important issues for many multinational
corporations (MNCs). Sending home-country personnel to the local subsidiaries has been the main strategy MNCs
have adopted to start global business, to transfer the knowledge and culture of the home organizations, and to make
a connection between headquarters and local subsidiaries (Black, Gregersen, Mendenhall, & Stroh, 1999; Evans et
al., 2002). Expatriation has recently been approached as a long-term global strategy rather than as a means of crisis
management. While expatriation has mainly been adopted to solve the urgent challenges in international markets
and the problems of subsidiaries on the past, it has recently been refocused on the areas of global leadership and
managerial development, as well as organizational learning from international experiences (Adler, 2002).
One of the challenges that HRD in MNCs faces is the lack of globally effective human resources. The experiences
of MNCs and the research have shown that highly effective managers in the home country have not been as effective
in international settings. Between 16 and 40 percent of all American expatriates fail to complete their assignment,
while the domestic failure rate is only five percent. Even 30 to 50 percent of the American expatriates who do
complete their assignments are considered by their companies to be ineffective or only marginally effective (Morris
& Robie, 2002).
Thus, it has become imperative among MNCs to develop individuals who can work effectively and efficiently
in an international environment. Expatriate development matters to organizations and expatriates. Organizations
build their global competencies and strategic advantages in global perspectives through expatriates. Given the
importance and high costs of expatriation, it is important what HRD strategies have been utilized and what can be
done to help expatriate to develop and succeed in their international assignments.
The purpose of this paper is to identify gaps in the HRD strategies for expatriate training and development, and
to discuss how expatriate mentoring could fill the gaps, and to explore future research ideas and directions through
examining the literature on HRD strategies for expatriate mentoring. For this purpose, literature of theoretical
framework and empirical evidences was reviewed.
This paper is organized into the following three main sections: The first part is an overview of HRD strategies
for expatriate T & D. This part examines what have been known as well as unknown. The second part specifically
concerns expatriate mentoring as an HRD strategy for expatriates. The literature from the domestic business area is
examined as well as studies from international settings. The last part discusses future research directions on the
topic of expatriate mentoring as a means of developing expatriates.
Copyright © 2007 Eunok Alice Kim
The following questions guided the development of the paper:
1) What kinds of HRD strategies have been utilized for the development of expatriates and what are the gaps
in those strategies?
2) What are the potentials that expatriate mentoring could contribute to development of expatriates in addition
to HRD strategies that have been utilized?
3) What are useful future directions of expatriate mentoring research considering its unique contexts?
Integrative literature review was utilized for the study. Three major business, education and psychology database
were searched: ABI INFO, ERIC, and Psyc INFO. Each database was searched with several keywords such as
international human resources, expatriates, expatriate development for materials published in the past thirty years.
The retrieved materials included journal articles, book sections, and reports. The abstracts of retrieved data were
reviewed, and relevant materials to the research questions were selected for detailed review. Bibliographies in the
reviewed articles also were looked up. This study is based on review of these available literature and reports.
Empirical and theoretical literatures were included in the paper to capture the multi-faceted nature of the topic.
HRD Strategies for Expatriate Training and Development
The HRD strategies for expatriate training and development in the international HRD context is summarized in this
section. To date, selection, pre-departure training, and cross-cultural adjustment have been among the most popular
issues for the preparation and development of expatriates in international HR (Tung, 2000). Studies on cross-
cultural training will be investigated first in this section. Secondly, the research on pre-departure and post-arrival
training will be described.
Cross cultural training
The difficulties that expatriates experienced in transplanting many practices abroad raise the question of
national culture. Hofstede’s (1980) groundbreaking research on cultural differences showed that national culture
differences account for managerial styles more than position within the organization, profession, age, or gender.
This theory implies that management and business operations are much more shaped by national culture differences
even within a MNC; thus it is imperative to take national cultural differences seriously when MNCs expand
As cultural differences have been addressed as a key dimension of an international assignment, cross-cultural
training (CCT) has become the main focus of T & D for expatriates. Cross-cultural training is "those educative
processes that are designed to promote intercultural learning, by which the acquisition of behavioral, cognitive and
affective competencies is associated with effective interaction across culture" (Landis & Brislin, 1983; Morris &
Robie, 2001). CCT has long been advocated as a means of facilitating effective cross-cultural interactions (Black &
Mendenhall, 1990). Topics of expatriate training include informational briefings, area studies, cultural assimilators,
sensitivity training, field experiences, and language training (Downes, Thomas & Singley, 2002; Tung, 1981).
Black and Mendenhall’s (1991) review article on CCT effectiveness is based on 29 empirical studies evaluating
the effectiveness of CCT programs. From a review of those studies, three primary dependent factors were
commonly used as indicators of training effectiveness: Cross-cultural skill development, Adjustment, and
Performance. The researchers made a matrix of those factors and research results, and classified the CCT effects into
positive, negative, non-significant, and not addressed. They concluded that in general, CCT is effective in all of
Morris and Robie’s recent meta-analysis on CCT effectiveness (2001) examined 16 empirical studies for
expatriate adjustment and 25 studies for expatriate performance. The study adopted more rigorous criteria that
solely focused on CCT for expatriates and used a more systematic analysis method, meta-analysis in combining the
results of multiple studies. In spite of the larger sample sizes (more than 1,500 for each dependent variable) than in
the previous meta-analysis, the results showed that the mean effect sizes were lower: the effect size was r=.26 for
performance and r=.13 for adjustment. These findings indicate that the effectiveness of CCT is somewhat weaker
than expected and can vary widely"(p.203). The researchers concluded that the prescription for CCT should be
made cautiously considering moderators such as individual and international contextual differences, and training
content and methods.
© 2000 Lynn Witham, Kay Jones and Anthony Pan 103/0219/1500 1
Expatriate Predeparture Training, Onsite Consulting,
and Repatriation Training
By Lynn Witham, Kay Jones, and Anthony Pan
2000 Asia Law & Practice China Staff Training and Development Manual
Multinational companies send employees on international assignments for the purposes of coordinating local and headquarters management, enabling the transfer of technology, or gaining general exposure to international business practices and/or the business practices of headquarters. Although the number of employees selected for these assignments is relatively small, the investments companies make in these assignments are large.
Gaining full returns on the investments made in these employees (who, along with accompanying family members, are usually referred to as expatriates or “expats”) can be challenging. When expats prematurely resign from their assignments or are repatriated early by management, returns on these investments can be greatly diminished. In addition, when assignments are unsuccessful and result in problems such as demoralization or reduced productivity of the host workforce, or disruption of established relationships with partners, customers, vendors, or government officials, companies can suffer business interruptions or other indirect losses.
In order to maximize their investments, companies can provide a variety of services that support expats before, during, and after their international assignments. These services increase the likelihood that employees will successfully complete international assignments and meet business objectives.
This chapter will explain three types of services that provide substantial support for expats on international assignments, including expats on assignment to and from China. Special focus will be placed on the first service:
• Predeparture and language training to facilitate adjustment to living and working in the host country;
• Onsite consulting to address specific intercultural issues that arise during the assignment; and
• Repatriation training to facilitate return to the home country.
The information in this chapter is designed to assist human resources personnel in making appropriate recommendations and designing effective policies that can support Chinese expats who are on assignment in other countries, as well as expats from other locations who are on assignment in China.
© 2000 Lynn Witham, Kay Jones and Anthony Pan 103/0219/1500 2
Predeparture training (also known as “cultural orientation training”) introduces expats to the international assignment experience prior to their departure for the host country. The purpose of predeparture training is to prepare expats to live and/or work effectively in another culture, to interact appropriately with people of that culture, and to benefit personally from the international assignment experience. (Note: This service should not be mistaken for another service known as “relocation training,” which is an introduction to the day-to-day logistics of living in the host country and is delivered by international moving companies and other service providers shortly after expats arrive in the host country.)
A significant benefit of predeparture training is that it guides expats in developing realistic expectations for the international assignment. The following is an actual situation that might have been avoided had the expats involved received predeparture training:
A British man assigned to work in Beijing was certain that he would not encounter any problems; after all, his wife was Chinese. He assumed this had prepared him well for daily life in China. His wife, born in Shanghai, knew that she would miss some of the conveniences available in England, but otherwise thought the assignment would be like “going back home”. One year into the assignment, the husband was bitter and maladjusted, spending most of his time complaining about China and Chinese people to other British expats and his wife. His wife was a virtual recluse, associating only with her husband and one woman who shared her Chinese dialect. “Whenever I go out,” she said, “as soon as I open my mouth (and speak Chinese) people ask me where I’m from. They know I’m different. I don’t feel comfortable here”. Unfortunately, the expectations of this couple were not realistic and led to disappointment.
When companies select employees for international assignments, they tend to choose employees who have demonstrated technical expertise, management expertise, and/or growth potential. Knowledge of the culture and business environment of the host country is seldom a primary criterion for selection. Without this knowledge, many expats assume that the skills and strategies that made them successful in their home country will also make them successful in the host country. During predeparture training, expats are exposed to the idea that an inability to work within the local system often results in an inability to achieve business objectives, and they are given some insight into how the local system works and how to operate within it. This and other information provided during the training can guide expats and their families in developing realistic expectations about living and working in the host country.
Onsite consulting provides guidance for expats in handling business and adjustment issues that arise during their international assignments. The purposes of onsite consulting are to
© 2000 Lynn Witham, Kay Jones and Anthony Pan 103/0219/1500 3
assist expats in assessing the approaches they use to handle such issues and to provide them with guidance in determining and implementing new approaches.
The focus of onsite consulting can be on business, performance, team, personal or family issues. Experienced intercultural consultants can work with expats to formulate approaches to managing current business issues and to develop contingency plans for handling issues that might arise in the future. To optimize the overall performance of expats in the local workplace, consultants can provide coaching on various performance issues. If expats are team managers, consultants can assist by facilitating team meetings and conducting team- building sessions, and by coaching expats in acting appropriately in these roles. If expats are members of a team, consultants can coach them in intercultural meeting participation and teamwork. Finally, consultants can counsel working expats and family members regarding issues of adjustment and family dynamics in the new environment.
A significant benefit of onsite consulting is that it targets real issues in a timely manner. The following are actual situations that could have been improved with onsite consulting:
An overseas Chinese manager working in China reported: “Sometimes I sit with local employees at lunch. People come to me with complaints. I want to tell my (Western) boss about the complaints. But he doesn’t ask me about things”. Being mindful of hierarchy, this manager hesitated to transmit bad news without being asked. The Western boss, on the other hand, assumed that because the overseas Chinese manager spoke English well, he would communicate in a direct manner.
A Chinese woman working in Germany wanted to show interest in and build close rapport with the “family” she worked with every day. Consequently, she made a daily investigation of the contents of her colleagues’ mailboxes. She also frequently and overtly examined any papers lying on the desk of her German male boss. In the office as well as in meetings, she was coy and flirtatious with male colleagues; in particular, with her boss. She became confused and demotivated after her boss called her into his office and spoke to her in a very stern manner, telling her that her behavior must change.
Expats who have the advantage of onsite consulting are often able to handle issues before they escalate and thereby avoid negative repercussions for the themselves, their colleagues and the company.
Repatriation training reorients expats to their home country just prior to or just after their return. The purposes of repatriation training are: to guide expats and family members in reflecting on the personal changes they have experienced during their international assignments; to prepare them for changes within their home environment and organization; and to discuss with them how to apply the knowledge and skills that they have developed during the international assignment to future business and social situations.
© 2000 Lynn Witham, Kay Jones and Anthony Pan 103/0219/1500 4
A significant benefit of repatriation training is that it prepares expats to handle the unexpected changes they observe in themselves, their families, their friends, their organizations and their cultures. Had the expats in the following actual situations received repatriation training, they might have experienced less intense reactions to the repatriation phase of their international assignment and achieved greater productivity on the job:
An American man returned from his assignment in China to find that his next job was “not ready” for him yet. The company found him a small office to use in the interim. It had no windows. Completely isolated and disoriented, “I cried all the way home from work every day for a month,” he later told a friend. After a challenging but rewarding year in China, this former expat was unprepared to face challenges and disappointment at “home”. Within a year, he accepted a position with another company.
An Australian woman who had recently returned from an assignment in China felt so depressed and lethargic that she made an appointment to see her doctor. She could not understand why she was feeling that way. She had enjoyed her time in China, learned some Mandarin, and received excellent performance reviews. However, she was happy to be returning home to family and friends and to a new position in her company. She was surprised to find, though, that friends and colleagues were not very interested in hearing about her experiences in China, and her new boss did not show any interest in utilizing the skills and network she had developed during her international assignment. “Home” felt provincial and cold, her productivity on the job began to suffer, and she began to wish that she had requested an extension of her assignment in China.
As part of a comprehensive expat package, repatriation training can facilitate more rapid readjustment of employees and their families, foster earlier productivity in new assignments, and contribute to the retention of employees following international assignments. While experienced expats cite the benefits of repatriation training, many companies assume that “going home is easy” and, unfortunately, do not recognize the value of this service.
Benefits of Expat Support Services
The provision of expat support services has wide-ranging benefits for expats and their families, as well as for the companies that provide these services to their expats. Some of these benefits are outlined in the following table:
© 2000 Lynn Witham, Kay Jones and Anthony Pan 103/0219/1500 5
Benefits of Expat Support Services
Benefits for Employees and Families • Enhanced understanding of and realistic expectations for the
international assignment experience • Smoother adjustment to each new phase of the assignment • Ability to function more productively before, during, and after the
Benefits for Companies • Improved interpersonal relationships among expats and local staff • Increased likelihood that business objectives will be achieved • Decreased incidence of premature expat return and of attrition after
return • Increased satisfaction of expats with their assignments and greater
willingness of employees to accept international assignments • Improved global team performance
Focus on Predeparture Training: Participants
Studies repeatedly show that the most common reason for the premature repatriation of expats is that the family is unable to adjust to life in the host country. Therefore it is critical for non-working spouses to be included in predeparture training, or to receive separate training. Children above the age of seven can also benefit from specially designed predeparture training.
Adjustment is often difficult for non-working spouses, as the home environment in the host country does not automatically provide a daily routine or human contact. While working spouses have an office to go to and fellow employees with whom to interact, non- working spouses must create daily routines and seek interaction with local people (many of whom may have had little contact with foreigners). Predeparture training can help non- working spouses build realistic expectations and introduce them to the knowledge, attitudes and skills that facilitate smooth interaction.
Adjustment is also often difficult for children, as they must establish new friendships (usually with children of various nationalities), identify new leisure-time activities, and learn to function in a new educational environment. Predeparture training can guide children in developing realistic expectations and provide them with information about the new environment in which they will be living.
© 2000 Lynn Witham, Kay Jones and Anthony Pan 103/0219/1500 6
By including the non-working spouse and children in predeparture training, companies can increase the satisfaction of the entire family with the assignment and increase the likelihood that the employee and family will complete the assignment successfully.
Focus on Predeparture Training: Objectives
Well-designed predeparture training programs generally seek to achieve the objectives outlined in the following table:
Objectives of Predeparture Training Programs
1. Build realistic expectations about the international assignment
2. Increase understanding of various aspects of the host country culture, society, and business environment
3. Prepare participants for potential culture shock in the host country and repatriation shock when they return home
4. Make participants more aware of their own “cultural baggage” (their behavior, perceptions, interpretations, attitudes, values, and ways of thinking) and how these are shaped by the culture in which they have grown up and by other cultures to which they have been exposed
5. Make participants aware of ways in which they could modify their behavior, attitudes and ways of thinking in order to communicate more effectively with people in the host country in a variety of business and social situations
6. Prepare working expats to handle job roles and responsibilities in ways that will be appropriate within the cultural and business contexts of the host country, and within the context of the receiving organization
7. Begin to build or increase fluency in a language of the host country
8. Increase understanding of various aspects of regional cultures, societies, and business environments in which the working expat expects to be doing business
Focus on Predeparture Training: Length of Training
The length of predeparture training varies greatly. Determining factors include: the commitment of senior management to providing the training, the budget available for the training, the working expat’s job role and responsibilities, the length of the assignment, the
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