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This paper focuses on the issues concerning an expatriate failure and the strategies to minimize such failure in overseas assignment to China. The project discusses the difference between two countries China and Singapore.
Singapore companies are growing bigger, more and more of them will go global in their operations. To support these Singapore-grown multinationals in their overseas expansion, Singapore will need cadre of happy executives who can readily be sent abroad to look after their employer's interest.
Expatriate failures are not mainly caused by lack of managerial and technical competence but by many other factors like family-related problems, unable to adapt to culture shock, dual careers, and foreign environment. In some cases, the assignment may be terminated before the actual planning and create additional costs for the company that is forced to relocate the employee back home.
Before the international posting, management should take some preventive measures in the form of orienting and training the expatriates and their family member in order to reduce the chance of expatriate failure. An essential training programs developed to prepare the expatriate for international relocated is Cross-culture. Repatriation training or reentry orientation should also be emphasized by management to debrief the expatriates so that they can better adjust upon returning home.
Overall training is the key element in the whole process of preparing, counseling and supporting the expatriate at the overseas post.
Assignment of Expatriate from Singapore to China:
A Study of Key Challenges and Strategies for Successful Expatriate Performance
FIN No.: G0704915w
UOB No: 08030475
Project submitted to the University Of Bradford School Of Management in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of BSc in Business and Management Studies
First of all, I am really thankful to my supervisor, Mr. Sam Sui Cheeon, whom support and guide me from the first to the final meetings that makes me able to develop an understanding of the subject, so that I be able to complete this project. Furthermore I thank to GOD who always bless me starting from the beginning of my final year project until now. I also thank to my friends who had supported and accompany me in any respect during the completion of the project. Final word, perhaps my project can be used by other in order to minimize the expatriate failure of the limitations experienced by the researcher, this project is far from perfect. Any critiques and suggestions are welcomed in order to enhance the quality of the project.
Objective of the projectâ€¦â€¦â€¦.â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦
Measure the company which can minimize the difficulties faced by expatriate on overseas assignmentâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦
Analyze and evaluate the expatriation and repatriation difficulties
Identify and evaluate the difficulties faced by expatriate in Chinaâ€¦â€¦â€¦
Expatriate failure â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦
Key country differences between Singapore and Chinaâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦
Possible causes of failure of expatriate assigned from Singapore to Chinaâ€¦â€¦â€¦.
Culture Shock in Chinaâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦
Adaptation and motivation
Family related issues
Strategies to minimize expatriate failureâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..â€¦.â€¦â€¦..
Psychological screenings for expat managers and assess the family
Pre move preparation and training for spouse and family
Offer flexible support and customized benefits
Provide ongoing support for the family
More and more Singapore companies are internationalizing their businesses in China. They need Singapore managers and professionals to manage the company. China is the most attractive country for expatriates to work, but is also one of the hardest places for them to succeed. Many expatriate and their family move from home country to host country because of the international assignment.
Nowadays the expat jobs in China became fewer. "The association of executive search consultants estimates that the number of expats in senior executive positions in China, India, Brazil, and Russia has declined from 56% ten years ago to 12% now" (Webster, 2010).
With the economic opportunity China offers, management must also consider the evidence regarding expatriate failure to complete overseas assignment varies from 40 to 55 percent (Johnson et al. 2006). The costs that corporations suffer from failed overseas assignment have been estimated to be as high as $ 2 billion.
The expatriate will face a different culture in new environment normally termed as 'culture shock'. The political, economic, cultural and legal system between host and home country may be different that at times the expatriate might fail to adapt. This chapter will discuss the problems that make expatriate failed in their assignment and the strategy to minimize the problem that he might face.
If the expatriate is emotionally prepared and educationally equipped for a world that is vastly different form the one he has known all his life, the likelihood of success is greatly enhanced. If he is unprepared or ill-equipped, he may find the assignment abroad frustrating, discouraging, and costly to him, his family and his company. (illman,1980,p11)
The problem of moving the expatriate is not just about the cost but also about the ability of the manager as well as their family to adapt in a new environment and manage new people in the new workplace. Individuals undertaking these overseas assignments may encounter difficulties in the overseas workplace and society in which they moved into especially in China where their living standard is high and many expatriates feel traumatic. Faced with such difficulties, they are unwilling to take up overseas assignments or it may result in failure of overseas assignment. Therefore a companies need to look into their problems and concerns in order to develop strategies to make overseas assignment more attractive and less threatening.
The companies need professional expatriates who are familiar with international assignment to make the expatriate be more flexible to a new environment. A foreign posting is a learning experience - learning to work in a different environment, to live in different culture and to meet different people. But, sometime the expatriate do not feel satisfied with a package that the company hand over to him.
The aim of this paper is to determine the measures that the company can take to minimize the difficulties and concerns that are likely to be faced by Singaporean expatriates on overseas assignment and the re-entry. This is to make overseas assignment more attractive and less threatening and enable them to manage, live and work in a foreign country.
This paper attempts to analyze and evaluate the expatriation and repatriation difficulties by Singaporean expatriates on overseas assignment.
Identify and evaluate the difficulties faced by Singaporean expatriates in China and the problems of repatriation from articles and newspaper.
Extensive library research is done to arrive at the ideal expatriation and repatriation programs after evaluating the difficulties
Countries cited throughout the paper refer to China and Singapore. Findings on this country are based on library research.
Many researchers try to predict the adaptation capabilities of the expatriate in the new culture, new work environment, and ability to interact with people from the host country. Tye & Chen (2005) and Traven (2006) stated that there are six factors to determine the expatriate's failure which are dual career, cultural shock, language difference, family problems no clear direction or goal setting and lack of cross cultural training.
The cost of expatriate failure is extremely high, the failures occur because many companies focus on the technical competencies required for international assignment and ignore other critical elements such as cross-cultural knowledge and the role of expatriate's family. Lee,Huang wen(2007)
The growing internationalization of the world's markets is drawing more and more players into the international business area. As the result, not only big multinational corporations, but also smaller and recently internationalized companies are encountering the problems associated with sending their employees, so-called expatriates, abroad. Manager has assumption that the previous firms who had undertaken expatriate practices can provide answers to the expatriate practical problems, but in fact many multinational companies are themselves coping with trends such as a changing work ethos and dual career couples, all of which made their employees less willingness to accept an assignment abroad (Shell,1993).
Culture shock is one of the main reasons in expatriate failure. Culture shock is a term used to describe a condition where the people are shocked about a different kind of life in new environment. Expatriate faces at least six aspects of culture shock. These include: difficulties in the process of mental and psychological adaptations, a feeling of losing friends, status , professions and possessions, a fear of being not accepted by the people in the new environment, confusion about the new role and role expectations, anxiety over the difference in cultures, and lastly the feeling of unproductive because of the inability to adjust with the new culture. (Adrian Furnham, Stephen Bochner 1986)
Apparently, this adjustment process sometimes goes wrong if the crisis is felt too strongly or if the expatriate is unable to recover from it for one reason or another. It seems that the culture shock or crisis usually occurs around 6 months after arrival in the foreign culture but everybody does not go through all the stages and some people do not experience culture shock at all. Hawes and Kealey (1981) conducted a research among Canadian expatriate in Africa and pointed out that some of the expatriates who experienced culture shock were ultimately among the most effective. They tend to assume that different perspectives were simply wrong, and therefore they represent no threat to their identity. They were generally more inflexible, through and in the end some of them were less effective because they did not communicate well with the local.
Looking into the problems of expatriates and companies who employ them, a conclusion can be derived where adequate preparation of expatriates and their families are proved to be crucial. Most of the companies did not offer very comprehensive training program, usually it consists of short briefings about the country in question and some language training, Sometimes the family did not participate in the training program. It may cause failure on overseas assignment because company does not pay attention for expatriate family when sending them on a foreign assignment. Family requirements are highly interrelated to the expatriate's adjustments as well as their performance in the host country. Selection and training process are important criteria for expatriate and their family.
Failure may happen because expatriates do not have clear direction or goal setting. It is important to note that personality traits are important to make success in international assignment. "Personality traits have been widely regarded as among the most important potential factors leading to expatriate success or failure". (Mendenhall and Oddou, 1985, p.40) It has been researched and proven by many scholars, if the expatriates posses positive personality traits, there is a higher chance for them to be able to blend in the new work circumstances. (Huang et al. 2005, p.1656)
Cross-cultural adjustment (CCA) is suggested as a key determinant of expatriate success in their international assignments. Past research indicated that CCA is a temporal and primary outcome in an expatriate's assignment that would influence the development of secondary or more distal expatriate adjustment. Many companies are afraid of investing too many resources in training employees in cross-cultural training but in the end expatriate failure still occur. "Three specific areas of CCA distinguished in the literature Adjustment to general environment (degree of comfort with general living conditions, such as climate, health facilities, and food); interaction with host country nationals; and work (performance standards, job, and supervisory responsibilities)" (Black & Stephens, 1989). Training can be a good tool to help expatriate understand the actual living experience they will have in the foreign country. The training is a better way rather than transferring expatriate directly without any notification that may cause culture shock and misunderstanding. The cost of cross-cultural training is cheaper than sending inexperienced staff for international assignments.
Cross-culture training (CCT) is regarded as educative processes that improve intercultural learning via the development of cognitive, affective and behavioural competencies needed for successful interactions in diverse cultures. Although CCT can be used for domestic employees, CCT in its traditional form is focused on preparing international assignees, and is more specifically designed for targeting cultural issues (Shen and Darby 2006). An important aspect in CCT is the need to have ethics and to create policies to help employees make decisions that have moral consequences. Without them, expatriates may perform poorly in foreign lands and end up reflecting badly on the image of their companies. CCT for expatriates aims to develop the awareness, knowledge and skills needed to interact appropriately and effectively with host-country nationals (HCNs) and third-country nationals (TCNs) (Black and Mendenhall, 1990; Shen and Darby 2006). As Dowling and Welch (2004, 120) point out, 'Without an understanding (or at least an acceptance) of the host country's culture. the expatriate is likely to face some difficulties during the international assignment'. Accordingly, the higher level of rigor the CCT has, the lower is the expatriate failure rate. Many authors emphasize the importance of CCT for successful expatriation and argue that MNEs have paid insufficient attention to it (Davidson and Griffin 2006; Edwards and Rees 2006; Hodgetts, Luthans, and Doh 2006; Littrell et al. 2006; Shen 2005; Tung 1981, 1982). In Anderson's (2001) study, nearly all the expatriates in the private, public and non-government sectors indicated that their previous overseas experience obtained through field experience or the overlap of work, had helped them to adjust to their new environments. So the international manger needs cross-cultural competencies (skills, awareness and knowledge) in order to accommodate behaviours to fit into the new culture effectively.
3. Key country differences between Singapore and China
In the previous year China is a communist country who wields great strength over its people in order to lead them. The regulation in communist party is closed means citizens live in fear of the repercussions associated with not complying with the rules and regulation. Political in China has move to be a democracy, but they still embrace a communism concept it is means in real life it is ruled by one party only.
Government politics in China have a problem with judicial independence, freedom of speech, press freedom of expression, the right to follow a religion and the right to vote. The ruling parties are not tolerated, they tend to close party and punishing people who are not willing to follow. Media and international community have often recorded about human right in China with allegations of abuse. China has a history of alternation between periods of political and social turbulence - sometimes involving violence and civil war and longer periods of highly centralised authoritarian rule. They have even tightened the internet policy after posting about democracy protests in Middle East countries. China government tightens control for both resident and foreign media about posting a protest. Consequently, any reporters have to look for government permission in attempt to conduct interview in China. see appendix 1
Chinese government and international manager have a different ideology, which Chinese government is a system of control because their under the communist system and international manager is more toward risk taker. Expatriate may have problems when doing business there as they may have different business planning that differs from the local managers.
The Singapore government advocates authority and discipline. Singapore government give freedom to each citizen to express their feeling as well as protecting their human rights under official human right report approved by UN. However, government also take action for those who violate the regulation see appendix 2.
Singapore and China has a similar in the political. But they have difference in the way government play a role. Many multinational companies have entered china market but the government still takes control over the way the business conducted for example multinational media. In the other hand, Singapore government gives multinational companies freedom to express their feeling.
China's economy was once a centrally planned system that was largely closed to international trade. However, during the last quarter century, China's economy has changed to a more market-oriented economy with a rapidly growing private sector. Due to such rapid growth, China has become a major player in the global economy (CIA World Factbook).
Within the fastest developing economic in China means China has been created a challenging business environment for manager in the multinational company. In the developing country where the economy is often changing, many managers are confused by the unclear and inconsistent law. Many managers feel frustrated because they don't understand the law.
A manager of Philips Ltd. located in China said when deciding to invest in China you can't use a normal business planning process. The manager can't plan every step mathematically, because there are still many uncertainty factors that you can't plan.
Now, China is in the middle of rapid market economic development so standard of business is not useful in China. Guy Mclrod from airbus China has an experience when they want to get a license in China, some managers can get easily and other need a long time to have it. All the process has never been done in the same way.
China and Singapore economies are very different. Singapore is a small former colony with no natural resources except its deepwater natural harbor and its strategic location at the opening of the straits of Malacca between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Singapore depends on imports, as there no natural resource on the island. The country is real independent economic base, wracked ethnic tensions and labor and political unrest, and threatened by its larger neighbors, has become the most modern, successful, stable, and sophisticated economy in Southeast Asia. Singapore's economy is stable. It can be seen as a consistent surplus in the overall balance of payment. The law in this country is very strict, all the company need to follow the rule otherwise they will get penalty or jail.
In the rapidly developing Southeast Asian region, Singapore's influence derives from its capacity to attract foreign trade, investment and finance, and to invest in turn in its neighbors. Continued economic development and wealth is also a vital prerequisite and foundation for stability within Singapore.
Unlike China, Singapore has a stable economic condition thus Singapore managers might have difficulties in handling the operations there. Relatively unstable economic situation in China requires the international managers to have other alternatives planning so when economic downturn hit the country, a quick action can be taken before suffering immense loss.
Singapore and China culture have some similarity in mianzi 'saving face'. Saving face in these two countries is also critical. Causing embarrassment to another person, such as correcting him or her, disagreeing with an older person or a superior, may cause a loss of face for all parties involved and can be very detrimental for business negotiations. Reputation and social standing strongly depend on a person's ability to control one's emotions and remain friendly at all times. If you have to bring up an unpleasant topic with a person, never do so in public and always convey your message in ways that maintain the other's self-respect. Reserve and tactfull are very important. Keep your cool and never show openly that you are upset.
But in China cultural practices is not only mianzi (face) but also Guanxi (connections) and political concerns which remains important in China (Bai and Bennington 2005). Cultural factors also influence the cognitive models that managers use in PAs.
In the culture where Guanxi has always been more important than laws, establishment of the legal framework has been futile without increased enforcement of existing laws. Foreign businesses are not the only ones frustrated by the problems that remain in China today. Nevertheless, Guanxi is still regarded as one of the important determinants the success of the wholly owned foreign enterprises and joint venture business in China. The effect of the Guanxi was very important to business in China, without local connection it would be almost impossible to set up a business in China. To maintain Guanxi the company should be prepared to make payments such as management fees, gifts, entertainment and so on. Sometimes, the entertainment expenses were more than rmb100,000 per month ( see appendix 2)
The effect of this connection requirement is that the expatriate are stressed out because they are expected to have and maintain relationship with local firms. Once they have failed the expectation or created a bad image in the local partner perception, their business can be shut down. The worries over the actions that local companies can take when expatriates do something wrong, give the expatriates bigger pressures thus can affect their performance.
Resident in Singapore consists of Chinese, Malay, Indian and European immigrants. In any case, Singaporean Chinese dominate the business culture of the country. Singapore worker tend to focus more on their career, and neglecting interaction aspect. Long hours and hard work, are expected, especially at the executive level. Admired personal traits include humility, experience, and team spirit. Some Singaporeans may engage in business while the relationship building process is still ongoing. Different from China where maintaining a relationship with the local partner is an essential, so they have a tendency to waste time for lobbying rather than focus on their project. The expatriates are required to balance their work and connection. Singapore workers are characterized with fast-paced workflow, whereas china workers are slower. So the expatriate should understand about their way.
Some nationalities think that China does not have a legal system but they are wrong. China has developed a legal system, largely geared to foreign investor, from scratch. Starting in 1979, China adopted its equity joint venture law" on the back of the open door policy which marked by Deng Xiaoping's ascendancy to power at the 11th party congress in 1987.(Laurence J.Brahm 2003)
Since that time, China has adopted legislation for equity as well as co-operative joint venture and wholly foreign-owned investment enterprises, complete legislation governing all aspects of intellectual property, foreign exchange control, and dispute resolution. In the past few years, China has put in legislation to govern securities markets, and recently has adopted a corporate law.
The problem with the expatriate is that they do not understand how the Chinese legal system works and how it can benefit them. The system in China makes enormous sense for a developing country with an economy undergoing fundamental transformation. The law sets the parameters, but after an assessment of the situation the government will fill the gaps by implementing legislation. What one need to be aware of is the shifting policies which often underwrite the law. The expatriate should understand these policies means understanding how the government thinks.
In Singapore, legal systems are efficient, transparent and extremely clear. Singapore has one of the lowest corruption rates in the world. Singapore also considered a very safe nation to do business in and live. Expatriate can do their job easier without worrying about the extra give for local people.
All Singapore residents are treated equally with respect to the law imposed by the government irrespective of their race, religion and belief. Singapore is attractive for foreign direct investment due to the efficient and stable legal system. Flexible and effective legal system reduces the transaction costs for the business. Singapore legal system encourages enterprises to become innovative and give companies a free market for competition. Investment and business are not restricted to companies even for foreign companies. This condition minimizes the costs and problems relating to employment and immigration.
4. Possible causes of failure of expatriate
Success in an expatriate posting depend other factor not just about technical and functional qualifications alone. As expatriate assignment successes, both the company and the manager benefit from experience. Too often the manager is unable to perform effectively and recalled before the end of assignment.
The cost of failure is very heavy both to the firm and the expatriate that includes both direct and indirect cost. The direct cost (i.e. training, relocation, compensation and repatriation) is estimated at between $250,000 to $500,000 per year in failed overseas assignments. (Michael Webster2010) In addition, the indirect/ implicit cost (i.e. reduced service to customers, the negative impact on implementing strategy, strained relations with home country networks and government officials) are thought to surpass the direct cost of expatriate failure (Scullion and Collings 2006;Wederspahn 1992). With personal costs, the individual suffers a loss of self-esteem, prestige, opportunities for promotion and possibly the expatriate's job. This loss will affect due to reducing their willingness / enthusiasm to undertake foreign assignments.
The high expatriate failure can be seen as an individual and organizational problem. The individual problem such as inability of spouse to adjust like dual career issues, inability of expatriate adjust, culture shock, other family related problem expatriate's personality or lack of emotional maturity, lack of motivation to work overseas, lack of language preparation and inadequate culture. On the other hand the failure can be occur from the organizational sector that the company has lack of career planning, inadequate compensation programs, and inadequate training program.( see appendix 3)
Eschbach, Parker and Stoeberl (2001) argue that culture shock and fatigue are the important indicators of an expatriate failing to make the required cross-cultural adjustment. Increasing an expatriate's ability to adjust to the host culture can increase his or her productivity (Dowling, Festing and Engle 2008; Murray, Poole, and Jones 2006; Eschbach, Parker, and Stoeberl 2001; Waxin and Panaccio 2005). Considerable work problems facing managers also limit the number of expatriates working in China. Most expatriates have considerable problems developing 'Guanxi' (relationships) in China. Guanxi is a key concept for understanding social behaviour in China, linking interpersonal relationships and the attainment of desirable resources. This entails an obligation to reciprocate favours by providing some kind of scarce resources. This importance of Guanxi is special vital for various aspects of joint venture. It may be needed to access different kinds of raw material; access to prospective buyers and even in the company winning a business deal. It is common for expatriate managers to be taken by surprise with cultural differences in their posted country if they have no experience before.
Adaptation and motivation
Failure can be occur because of managers are not open-minded, which suggests lack an ability to adapt to new situations and environments. International relocate make expats have lack performance like confidence, trust and independence. Expatriate faces unfamiliar customs, cultural norms, and daily living routines. This can influence expats' sense of confidence in themselves and others, boosting their trust on others both in their personal and work lives. Support service for international assignment is needed to reflect employee motivations to ensure the individual's peak performance for the organization. But some company did not give support service.
(Oddou 1991, p303 and Tung 1988) believe that it is important to be adaptable since the new job and environment is not the same as what the manager is used to at home. The difference can create a certain level of stress for international relocation. 5
Wilikinson et al. (2010) stated that international assignments bring stress, uncertainty about the outcomes, less handling power over the situation, and the unclear feeling of the expectations of the international relocation. The most important thing to expatriate is he should be easy going, open mind, and have ambition to faces their problem in China.
Successful executive usually have more self aware than their successful counterpart, because they have better understanding about their own value. Self awareness does not mean knowing about their past strengths but learning by doing, because past strengths can be a future weakness.
However, one of the reasons for the Singapore expatriate failure of international assignments is the problems of spouse and family. The problems are dual career couple, spouse and family adaptation and children education can be a major of failure. The table is presented the failure causes by family and the issues that make overseas assignment become difficult.
If the spouse is unsatisfied with the assignment expatriate find it difficult to adjusting into.
The host culture
Unsatisfied spouse contribution, for the success of the assignment is very low since they are looking towards to escape from the current situation.
Adaptive spouse (Open-minded, Adventurous) tend to assimilate into culture quickly but who do not adapt to different culture will lead expatriate to withdraw from the assignment.
Presence of children
Children find themselves strange and unfamiliar to the new culture and leaving friends, family members cause stress for them.
Dual career couple
Might create stress for spouse if they couldn't find a job in the host country where as he/she was on a good job before and dropped it for the international assignment.
Overseas assignments can be an extremely potent stressor for the whole family but for most expatriate managers are challenged and excited because they are given a new position. In contrast, international assignments give greater pressure to the international managers because they have bigger responsibilities and they must spend more time on the work which is harder than what they have in the home country. The bad effects caused by the stress will impact on the entire family as the family also needs social support from the international managers but the managers may not be able to provide these support.
The spouse will also lose social support provided by extended family and friends to deal with her problems since the problem is associated with the family due to children's unwillingness to relocate. As a result, the spouse will spend most of the time by themselves and will separate from their own family and friends. The children also find themselves unfamiliar and strange to the new environment. They should find themselves new friends and adapt with new environment. In result for the whole family each new assignment means abandoning friends and family as their social support system.
In international dual-career situations, many factors will influence in a negative perception for the couple/ family adjustment. The impact can be showed by the potential loss of the trailing spouse's income during the duration of the expatriate assignment. Beyond the altered financial state, the trailing spouse may lose experience significant adjustment due to loss of professional identity, have difficulty in finding employment during the relocation, the trailing spouse can experience heightened stress and tension due to professional isolation and loss career, which in turn can affect into the work environment of the expatriate manager.
Frequently, dual-career couples are entering a commuting relationship during the expatriation of one of the spouses, attempting to mitigate the negative consequences of disrupting the other spouse's career. Bunker et al. estimated that 25% of couples who both male and female are working choose not to migrate to the host country that causing one of them has to loss the job. Instead, they prefer letting the spouse in home country and commute between home and host countries.
The Singapore worker is very conscious and protective in keeping their career prospects. To ensure stable career growth, workers engage actively in training and further education and avoid idleness in their career by always upgrading their academic qualifications and skills. Therefore dual career for Singapore workers is very difficult to achieve, because workers have to lose their existing jobs and may hard to find job in host country.
5. Strategies to minimize expatriate failure
Population in Singapore has different nationality such as China. If the company send a Singaporean Chinese worker it would be easier to them to adapt in China, because many of them can speak mandarin. Singaporean Chinese and China have similar culture, so the culture shock would be reduced. But when it comes to Malaysian or Indonesian or British, the company should be selective before making a decision. They should make sure that the expatriate and their family can adapt with the new environment as well. Cross culture training is the most effective program for the expatriate before they go in overseas assignments.
5.1 Psychological screenings for expat managers and assess the family
In any industries, expatriates play an important role and give significant contribution to the organization. To have a successful multinational organization, each position must be filled in with the right people with the appropriate skill sets. It is therefore imperative to select, prepare and retain the most suitable candidates for expatriation. The company should screen carefully anyone who is considered for an overseas assignment. In many cases, the companies have established screening for those under consideration for overseas posting. The assessments help the company to determine if there is any danger of mis-adaptation. This assessment is a very effective way. It tries to show whether a person is really prepared to accept a different culture, seeking to uncover any problem attitudes, such as a general distrust of people from other culture or an inability to change in order to adapt in a different environment.
Another strategy is still uncommon among the multinational companies, which is to assess not only the expat manager sent to China but also his or her spouse and children. Many companies rarely interview or assess the family members before sending them to China. Assessing a candidate's spouse is essential in determining the candidate's suitability for the purpose of international posting. The company should make sure that their spouse is equally open-minded and flexible to adapt in new environment. The international assignment program will not be successful if only one of the members is open-minded and flexible while the others are not.
5.2. Pre move preparation and training for spouse and family
The companies also provide briefing or cultural training for both the manager sent on the assignment as well as his or her family. A cross-cultural training should be provided for both expatriates and their spouses because it is a vital process for the success of international assignment The briefing prepared for the expatriate must formulate criteria for success and communicate these to the expatriate and dependants. These criteria must be both realistic and specific. The criterion takes into account the duration of the posting and adjustment period, headquarters policy concerning expatriate postings at the subsidiary, local culture and business condition and the characteristics of the subsidiary, organizational and technological difference between it and the manager's previous post.
Intercultural training is supposed to be given by assignee's spouse, even though they feel disappointed with the host country. Pre-move training for families is critical to the adaptation process. It should help families to be prepared for living in China by providing useful, relevant information on the issues most critical to them: choosing international schools, sourcing healthcare providers, finding community organizations to join or social causes to support, or investigating employment options.
The training sessions allow the expat and their family to visit China for inspection before posting is executed to China. The purpose of the visit program is to give the expats and families a chance to know about the environment they will face when migrate to China. Through this program, they are able to visit the housing complexes, finding international schools for their children, see where is the hospitals, the recreation areas, and the China office where the expat will work. The trip like this should help in preparing the expatriate and family for relocate and confirm before the move whether they are suitable for the allocation or not. The most important is the expatriate should be arranged to meet GM employees who have recently returned from the country or peers who can solve their burning questions. They cover many aspects of living in China, from traffic conditions to practice in using chopsticks. When the companies bring expatriate to China, allow the employee and the spouse to participate in the decision making about housing, schools. The training sessions are offered for the entire expat family.
"For example; Rachel, a 50-year-old Canadian, She received both culture-specific and culture-general training, which included discussions of how her own cultural perspective could affect her judgments and interactions in the host country. Rachel is certain that this cross-cultural awareness made her life overseas much easier" Maria Foley (Apr 28, 2010).
Offer flexible support and customized benefits
Recognizing both that every family is different and that many companies are under pressure to downsize expatriate packages, several of the China based expats recommended offering expatriate hires customized benefits where they and their families choose those perks that are most benefit to them. In some cases, for example, the companies give the expatriate alternative between providing educational assistance allowance such as paying the school fees and costs incurred by the expatriate in employing a tutor to teach the children the mother tongue which is included in the school curriculum as benefits in the financial package or subsidiary from company to have annual visit to the their home country. Designing and maintaining an appropriate compensation package despite its complexity is crucial because of the need to consider and reconcile parent and host-country financial legal and customary practice. appendix 4 shows the breakdown of component of an expatriate compensation package. There should be a clear explanation of the expatriate base salary and the additional rewards or allowances that will be given during the assignment.
The company is usually involved in locating and subsidizing appropriate housing, suitable educational facilities for children, whether in the overseas location or at home, arranging and subsidizing regular home leave and locating suitable medical facilities.
5.5 Provide ongoing support for the family
Pay attention to the spouses of expats living in China. In addition, because the level of adjustment experienced by expatriates' spouses directly influences the adjustment process of the expatriates themselves, firms must place more emphasis on preparing spouses for international assignments and supporting those spouses once in the foreign environment. It is better if the firm provide a person for spouse to be directly contacted when they face any problems. It would help to reduce much of the uncertainties associated with settling into a foreign culture. Also, with the increasing number of dual career, it is likely that more spouses will want to work. By offering employment assistance, such as helping with work visas or subsidized career development activities, MNCs can facilitate the adjustment of these spouses. Even simple action will help to make them feel supported.
5.6 Repatriation training
Repatriation means to the process of bringing expatriate home. It can often be more frustrating experience than leaving own culture for an overseas assignment. The international experience has changed the outlook and expectations of returning employees and their families. The layout of home country and company has changed after their return home. Repatriation is often difficult as reverse culture shock can be unexpected and painful experience.
If the companies want to retain their internationally experienced managers, they will have to do a better job in managing the repatriation process such as using expatriate's international experience in the home company, offering job choices upon return, recognition, repatriation career support, family repatriation support and improving evaluation during an assignment. The company should provide training to prepare the worker and their family for a smooth return to the home culture and lifestyle.
Career planning is a crucial function for retaining international assignees upon repatriation. The firm should offer multiple careers planning sessions to discuss the international assignee's concerns regarding repatriation. Repatriation concerns with ambiguity about the international assignee's future. 1. Gomez-mejia &balkin 1987, Harvey,1982 said The company have to reduce the uncertainties by offer repatriation agreement. A brief introduction about the changes in the company including policies, personnel, and strategy should be given to the returning employee right after his arrival in the home country.
The company can offer repatriation training seminars to employees and their family. This will address expatriate emotional concerns upon returning home. Hope that training will improve re-entry adjustment. Repatriation will have different salary, the company should conduct financial counselling and financial or tax assistance. The counselling helps the returned employees to get accustomed back to their lifestyle without the need for the organization to provide additional allowances like when they have an international position. Company should show visible signs that they value the international experience like promoting the repatriate upon return, maintaining position prestige and status, or providing additional compensation for completing the assignment.
The contras between Singapore and China can be seen as economic and legal system. Singapore and China have a similarity in political, culture. To make a business more profitable to the company, expatriates should learn basic rule of Chinese business culture and should keep a good relationship (guanxi) with Chinese government. High expatriate failure rate in China is mainly because of culture shock and dual career issues for Singapore worker. For dual career are likely more difficult to do international assignment because the spouse need a job as well. Company should provide a job for his/her spouses. Providing support and giving some advices for expat problems can minimize expatriate failure such as monitoring them in their live value. Overseas assignment is not as simple as the look. The company should pay more attention on the selection process to ensure the employees quality. They need preparation such as training before and after come to the host country to improve their ability and skills, but it is not only for the manager but also for their entire family.
International businesses will not success unless expatriate do their jobs well. Failed expatriates cost the organization not only the cost of failed international operation but also other financial sufferings. An example of the financial loss the company suffers is that after providing adequate living standard for the expatriates can enjoy, but in the end, no profits they generate. The cost of bringing back the expatriates along with their families is also a loss in the organization balance sheet.
Expanding into another country offers the organization can make expatriate interest about the additional dollar they can obtain. But in the real practice, assigning an employee to a different country to manage the international project is not an easy task. Organization can generate lots of cash if the expatriates perform well. Likewise, when the assigned expatriates failed the mission and come back home before the schedule, loss of both and current and future cash will have to be bearded by the organization