expatriate failures

Satisfactory Essays

“The internationalization of business has proceeded at a rapid pace as the world has become a global economy.”(Mathis, Jackson 2000) This is the very reason why companies now have the need for international executives. As all aspects of a business spread worldwide, so must the employees. An expatriate by definition is a home-county national, usually an employee of the firm, who is sent abroad to manage a foreign subsidiary. (Rodrigues, 2001) A successful expatriate generally requires an extensive amount of time and money, however, a failed expatriate can be even more costly for an organization. A study of multinational corporations showed that 69% (of the firms surveyed) had recall rates of expatriates between 10 to 20 percent. Compared to Japan and their figures, (86% of firms had less than 5% recall rate) the United States has room for improvement. (Tung, 1981) There are many reason for expatriates to fail and many differences between Japan and United States’ human resource management planning.
One of the main reasons why expatriates fail is due to the social and physical environments of the foreign country. Adaptation problems can effect the on-the-job effectiveness of the expatriate. Different value systems and living habits are a main cause of adaptation problems and the inability to communicate only worsens the problem. Lack of communication verbally and nonverbally can affect every aspect of a persons career and person life. If someone can’t communicate, imagine the difficulty of going to the bank, dealing with customers, and even going grocery shopping. In addition to the new surrounding environments, if the expatiates family can not accompany them or is not happy with the new living arrangements then it could result in separation anxiety. Humans need to feel secure in their environments and with all of these downfalls it is extremely difficult to accomplish. When an expatiate is not happy with their situation, it will reflect on their job performance.
Some other reasons for expatriates to fail are differences in the managerial and organizational principles. If a foreign country has different principles than the home-country than implementation can be very difficult. This also applies to objectives and policies. With such differences the expatriate may need to conform to the local situation. “If the expatriate manager’s authority is visibly constrained, his or her opportunity to establish and maintain an effective relationship with local associates is diminished.” (Rodrigues, 2001) An expatriate’s authority can appear constrained if the home office overcentralizes the decision making.
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