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- Category: Country
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When we talk about the expatriate, we mean a person residing permanently or for a time being in another country other than where he has been brought up. People find different reasons for that. Some people just visit other countries for vacations while some immigrate. There might be various reasons behind that such as studying abroad or finding means to earn a better living. When such individuals travel abroad, there are major changes that take places in their lives that have a foremost impact on them as well as the other issues surrounded by them.
The vibrant display of cultural backgrounds around a person is observed, if he/she founds his family living in other countries, and works for a universal company. Another observation that is mostly seen in this regard is that a fellow citizen who works in a foreign country, having different and diverse culture and dissimilar way of living, etc. also felts the same vibrant in this regard.
Its true that mostly same basic human emotions, such as, love, anger, hate, passion, etc. are shared by us during our lives. However, these emotions are expressed in different ways in each culture, which relates by different attitudes in this regard. The overcoming of cultural bumps should be learnt by us that are beyond the simple belief of acceptance.
A cultural adjustment cycle goes through everybody, who makes the decision of spending his or her life in a foreign country. However, the velocity rate varies from person to person, who takes little or longer time to pass through the adjusting process.
The adjustment cycle is divided into five different stages, which starts from the first day of residence in a foreign country having new culture, and ends when a person settles down in that new environment. An individual goes through many different processes for this certain change in his life, and his adoption to the new surroundings. In this regard, Sociologists believe that human beings nurture themselves, when this topic is debated between the naturally or nurtured behaving of a human being. This argument has now become a source of discussion among many sociologists.
In a society, particular roles are played by each individual member of the society, which carries different norms and values of that society. In this regard, different outputs come up when a society is encounters by an expatriate. When these specific roles, values, and standards are learnt by this emigrant, the process is known as isolation.
As discussed earlier, an individual expresses this kind of feeling, when he or she tries to travel to a foreign country, and tries to adjust themselves as per the norms and values of that place. However, sometimes these expatriates are found deporting from the country, when they are found to goes through the process of isolation successfully. The sanctions are divided into two categories that are, positive and negative. Certain kinds of behavior are disapproved by the negative kinds of sanctions. However, an expatriate is encouraged to reside in a foreign country, in case of positive sanction. Secondly, the societies make the decision of considering a person, adult in this regard.
There have been many real-life examples of expatriates in a foreign country, who goes through various processes of positive and negative sanctions. We can take an example of a woman, who was found to be expatriating for a long time. The same five stages were experienced by her. Her honeymoon stage enters her into the expatriate cycle, where everything is enjoyed by her in the new country.
When she entered into the second stage, various symptoms of physically ill was felt by her. Frequency headaches, and stomach pain was complained by her at random times. Work for not done by her perfectly due to the tiredness and less concentration due to the change in her sleeping patterns. This resulted in the feeling of missing her friends and family at her home country, which caused her to be homesick in the foreign country.
After the cultural shock period, another stage of negative feelings awaited her arrival, which was hardly realized by her. In many cases, it has been felt by many expatriates as the end of the cycle, which is not a fact in real. This results in a bad feeling of isolating from everything, as the culture, norms, and values are found to be diverse than the home country. Eventually, the individual is helped by another stage, where the person is allowed to gain acceptance from the people of the new surroundings.
The American expatriates are found to be in a very relatively small number in the Middle East region, which is taken as a politically volatile region. However, 25,000 Americans, 12,000 British, and 40,000 Canadian expatriates have been risked by the recent conflicts in the Lebanon. On the other hand, a sizeable expatriate North American and European community is being attracted by the Persian Gulf countries, which are rich in the oil resources, such as, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.
1. STRATEGIC PLANNING
Before entering into a new country, planning is required at every stage. During the expansion of multinational companies, they also send their employees to the foreign countries for the better planning and management of their joint ventures with the new country’s companies, in order to develop the new business. However, it is very important to plan a supportive environment for the company’s expatriate, so he or she may present the company in a prospective manner.
Complexity and Cost Issues
In today’s persuasive environment, HR departments’ managerial capabilities can easily be outstripped by the demands of an expatriate staff. In this regard, compensation packages, living allowances, tax assistance, work permits, etc. should be designed by the HR department. Language instructions, pre-departure evaluation, and cultural orientations arrangements must be made as well as by the company.
Additionally, transportation of household goods, and real estate should be provided for these expatriates too. In this regard, it has been observed that three times amount is spent by the multinational companies for their overseas employees every year. A substantial investment in expatriate support resources must be questioned by the corporate leaders, which are usually not related to their nature of business.
However, one cannot compromise the quality of the support, which is meant for the support of an expatriate. Because, the employees expect very high regarding the support for their families and themselves from their HR, when they are sent to a foreign country for an assignment, as it is very depressing and difficult to go to a foreign country and leaving the family, and friends back at the home country.
How Support Firms Can Help
The considerations should be made for the purchase of necessary services from the specialists that are independent in this field for the better cost control and professional staffing of an expatriate in a foreign country. The pre-departure assessment of an individual can manage the entire expatriate process by an independent firm with relation to the home affairs of the candidate. In this regard, significant savings are also promised by these arrangements. There are various attractive options, which are outsourced by the corporations.
In the international marketplace, the firms contemplating entry may result in the limited number of personnel in a foreign country. Secondly, when the rank of expatriates of a firm fluctuates due to the initiating and completion of overseas projects, the need of adding the staff is relieved by the outsourcing process. This thing also applies to the firms, which bears the loss of experienced support persons in a foreign country, but do not replace them, in order to give them an opportunity of learning those positions. Additionally, when the costs are reduced as a corporate directive is received by the firms, as the services are purchased or the administrative staff is eliminated in a foreign country.
An experienced organization is engaged by a company, which opts to outsource expatriate support for the better understanding of interlocking components during an assignment. The delivery of all the services, such as, language training, and tax preparation is centralized by the provider in this regard. Certain tasks are performed by the outside firm’s staff and the coordination is done with the help of different alliances around the world. Sometimes, the expatriate’s primary contact is served by the outside firm on the approval of the client. However, it is very seaming in the delivery of services in every case of the client and an expatriate.
Expatriate support is crucial for the information resources. The access to the data regarding the personnel and cost, track compensation, benefits records, visa expiration rates, tax information, etc. can be provided with the help of advanced softwares used by the independent providers. In this regard, a nominal fee is charged by most of the supportive firms. This fee is divided into various installments, such as the advance payment at the beginning of an assignment, and during the maintenance of the expatriate, and on the completion of the assignment. Any other costs that are associated with particular assignments can also be tracked with the help of advanced technology by a provider.
Information regarding the best practices of management and staff positions has been gathered by the specialized firms of expatriate support. Industries and geographical locations have also been included in this information. By serving many clients, a knowledge base of expatriate preferences and effectives policies have been built by these firms. However, this information is shared with their clients on the basis of true confidentiality.
Advantages at home and abroad
The engagement with an independent provider benefits a company across several areas. HR productivity, implementation of expatriate policies, and substantial savings over expenditures can be raised by the companies. Strategic issues, such as development and retaining of talent can be tackled by a leaner HR staff for the performance of these administrative duties. In this regard, a proper planning for the training of returning expatriates is required by the HR.
When the expatriate support function is outsourced by a company, savings are achieved by the elimination of investment of staff and technology. Volume discounts also benefit the clients after the negotiation of various firms, which performs the similar services. If a global network of strategic alliance has been established by the provider, further savings can be given to clients with a range of specialties. Conclusively, it results in the better productivity of an expatriate. The employees who migrate from home country to a foreign country can perform their jobs and assignments easily and with better concentration, if they are aware of the support and facilities that are being provided to their families back at the home.
2. SELECTION OF THE PERFECT CANDIDATE
It should be understood by the companies that the determination for the best possible suitability of candidates in a foreign country has received the most research attention during the 35 years old cross-cultural field. The importance of selecting the candidates for technical competencies has been supported by the findings. In addition, the supplementary factors have also underscored an importance for themselves, as there will be a very high risky situation due to the mixture of distant and unfamiliar culture.
Two views of the fundamental objective regarding the expatriate candidate evaluation have been identified in the subtitle of this article. The candidates with the better performance in a new culture will only been seeking out in the assessment, as suggested by the ‘Cream of the Crop’. It is thought by many people that the assessments is done only for skimming off the cream, for the better understanding of the reluctance of the line managers. Perhaps, it has been feared by them that after the assessment and evaluation of their most technically qualified expatriate, he or she will be found in mental stress due to the cross-cultural dilemma and its eagerness.
However, the research-based assessment has never made the objective of skimming off the cream. In this regard, no reliable way has been determined for the resolution of the most outstanding performer. Success is being imposed and influenced by too many factors. Some of which are not even related to the candidate. Some are not even able to assess the candidate before the beginning of the assignment.
For this reason, only one objective can be attained by the expatriate candidate assessment. This objective can be the proper identification of the candidates who are near the failure due to the unfamiliar culture and various other dilemmas that are mentioned earlier in this study. The cross-cultural field has said many things for the decision-makers who select the candidates for the overseas assignments. It has been assumed by this cross-cultural field that the candidates will be technically competent. The risking of certain people has also been revealed in their research. They assure that high-risk candidates for the expatriation will be identified by their assessment methods. Somehow, considerations must eliminate the high-risk candidates. For virtually all other candidates, the enhancement of cross-cultural competencies can be done with the help of training and support methods that may result in the success of the expatriate.
However, it is very tricky to eliminate high-risk candidates from the consideration. It has been seen that the conclusion have been legally challenged by the people with high desire of going abroad by calling them ill-suited for that particular assignment. In this regard, the specialists have find out the solution by associating their family members, in order to help them for the better assessment of their capabilities and suitability. Now, we will try to discuss the points that should be assessed for gauging the cross-cultural suitability. It has been believed that there are two principal targets for the assessment. The cross-cultural competence of the candidate and the spouse is the potential one. On the other hand, the other target is the situational readiness of the candidate in a foreign country.
When the candidate starts thinking of relocating his or her family members to another country, this results in the situational readiness. In this regard, some questions have been gathered by the experts, which should be asked by the candidate and the spouse to themselves. During the question, the candidate should ask about the practical issues, such as, property sale, bankruptcy, lawsuit, aged parent, divorce, etc., which needs his or her sustained attention at the home. Secondly, the need of a special medical, psychological, physical, and educational, sports, etc. should also be determined by the candidate, if any family member may accompany him to the foreign country.
It should also be resolved by the candidate that the spouse might not be holding any lucrative career on hold that may be a reason for the disappointment. Secondly, the children should also be considered before the departure of the candidate, especially in the case of teenagers. The marriage should also be considered deeply by the candidate, if the new novel environment will revive or refresh the marriage or not.
During the past decades, personality traits have been the interest of most of the researches. Personal qualities have been typically expressed in the findings, which may correlate with the cross-cultural success in a positive manner. Some traits are considered highly desirable during the assessment. Such as, empathy, local cultural interest, respect, tolerance, initiative, flexibility, and motivation
The second problem is that an understandable tendency has been found in the candidates that predicts the success of the expatriates with the possession of the above mentioned traits and mannerism. However, it will be more appropriate and defensible to say that a high risk of failure’s reason may be the scarcity of these traits in an individual. This problem results in the creation of a third problem. During the assessment of the candidate, some instrument is taken as a magic by the selection manager that may enable the candidate to make judicious choices. Therefore, a difference is only made by the personality traits of an individual.
However, something is still missing in the study. We can say that a cross-culturally experienced interviewer is missing, which may do an extensive face-to-face discussion with the candidate. In short, if the expatriate candidates will be relied exclusively on an instrument, they ground is shaky for the selector. An indispensable part is interviewing of the candidate in this picture. The verification and more importantly, supplement of an instrument is done by the interviewing, which enable the assessor for the better understanding and clarification of the different and various components of the candidate and the spouse with relation to their cross-cultural competency. An opportunity is given to the assessor during the interview regarding the better assessment of experience, motivation, attitude, temperament, and the candidate’s expectation, as well as the spouse’s too.
Additionally, an accurate expectation in the minds of the family members is developed by the interview, which initiates the process of coaching and support to the family members of the expatriate candidate. Another reliable technique is the behavioral interviewing, which is widely used in the recruitment and selection of thousand of candidates around the world. The past behavior is taken as the best predictor for the future performances of the candidate through this premise. Detailed responses are gathered during the behavioral interview of the expatriate candidate. Phrases like ‘tell me about a time when you….’ are used during this kind of interview for the assessment of the candidate.
However, during this behavioral interview, the interviewer or assessor is challenged due to this technique, as he or she has to ask some non-leading questions by becoming and presenting as a self-disciplined person. As noted above, knowledge of the expatriate life and cross-cultural adjustment, as well as the details about the assignment should be having in the interviewer. In this process, the candidate with the most risk of failure should be finding out rather than giving importance to the successful ones. In this regard, the withdrawal of candidacy should be asked and encouraged by the management. The evaluation of desirable personality traits are focused by the commercial available instruments. However, the range of the factors that influence the success is beyond the personality variables.
Therefore, addition of other approaches should also be done for the better and accurate results of the assessment and evaluation of the expatriate candidate. In this regard, help should be also be given to the families regarding their situational readiness. Therefore, they should also be interviewed, in order to eliminate failure reasons in both candidate and the spouse or the family.
3. PREPARATION FROM COMPANY’S VIEW
The problems and difficulties can be minimized by the prior planning that may assist the transferee. The knowledge about the foreign country should be given to the expatriate candidates, the company, and their families also. The culture, standards, norms, and values of that country should also be discussed for the better understanding of abovementioned people. In result, the stress can be reduced by the proper preparation and confidence can be invoked in bother the company and its expatriates.
The internet, libraries, and bookstores can give the detailed sources for information regarding the foreign country, where the candidate is going to be settles for the representation of the company. Guides, settling-in tips, and cultural training are given by some relocation companies around the world, in order for the more security regarding their upcoming move in a foreign country.
The success of a transferee in a new country can be crucial to this research. In this case, the success is defined as the proper adjustment of an enthusiastic and productive employee in a new country along with the family. The main ingredient of the achieving success is the feeling of security in a foreign country. The company is also responsible for this feeling as it also falls on the shoulders of the expatriate. A thorough understanding of a country’s history, culture, customs, political trends, current conditions, laws, etc. should be having in any company, whose employees are being relocated in a foreign country.
The knowledge and preparation are the solutions to this problem. The utmost importance is of the planning for the emergencies for the provision of manageable stress level in the candidate. Preparation for the cross-cultural differences should be fully done by the companies and their relocating employees, as one country accepts something perfectly, while the other offenses it completely.
When a candidate reaches its destination, this does not mean the ending of the security. Therefore, security consciousness must be in the transferee, and necessary precautions should be taken by the candidate in the foreign country and new surroundings. In this regard, a list of those precautions has been given by the experts. It includes the better understanding and adapting to the behavioral customs of the new place/country. Close attention should be paid to any unattended bags in public. Any demonstrations of a political nature should be avoided by the candidate.
Unlit streets should also be avoided at night. The blending of style of dress should be adjusted as much as possible. Only the needed amount of money should be carried by the employee in the new country. Additionally, wealth should be flaunted and any personal information should not be divulged to an unknown caller in this regard. For instance, all travelers who are going to Poland have been warned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that no recent history of terrorism has been found in the country. However, a risk of indiscriminate terrorist attack is shred by the Poland like the rest of the world. In this case, the employee should be very vigilant and alert in the public places, and while talking to the unknown persons. Tourist sites and the places for the gathering of foreigners should be visited very cautiously in this regard.
The CEO of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Crown Worldwide Cup, David Muir explains and relates most of the hints and tips with common sense. A couple of important things are that it should be remember are the proper and pre-planned arrangement of the visa and marking the bags with the name and address, so no one can go away you’re your belongings. It is advised that a person should be very well aware of his or her surroundings in a foreign country.
Conclusively, the employee will be comfortable and will concentrate more on the assignment, if the company will prepare and arrange for its employee in advance. The move can be more attractive, if the security issues and measures are already taken by the company with the complete assessment of the relocation for the employee.
Additionally, the expatriate’s family should also be kept in the considerations at the time of a relocation plan. Early counseling and cultural training should be provided for maintaining high comfort level for the employees, which is the key to the success of the assignment. At the time of relocation to a foreign country, education, awareness, preparation, and knowledge should be considered as the best friends for an employee. Detailed knowledge should be provided regarding the customs of that place and necessary security measures should be taken, which may result in a productive, and prospective results and situation for a company in this regard.
4. PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENTS
The role of three support sources have been examined in this study for the facilitation of expatriates adjustment and better performance during an overseas assessment. The development of a model was done for the examination of effects that have been perceived by the organizational support. In turn, it was expected by the sociologists that the expatriate task performance and contextual performance would be influenced by the expatriate adjustment. A sample of 213 expatriate supervisor dyads via structural equation modeling was tested by this model.
It was indicated in the results that direct effects on expatriate adjustments was on the POS, which in turn affected the both dimensions of performance directly. Although, adjustment was not influenced by the LMX, expatriate task and contextual performance had direct effects due to it. Adjustment or performance was not related to the spousal support program. During the sample study, the discussion of facilitating the expatriate adjustment and performance was done with the help of practical implications.
Repatriation is the process of converting a foreign currency into the currency of one’s own country. Many individuals face this problem when they move abroad as all countries have their own currency and economic level of income and insurance.
The same experience is responded by no two persons identically. Thus, unique aspects will be on the path that is followed by you, which leads possible reverse cultural shocks for the satisfaction of cultural re-adjustments to the home culture. In this regard, a variety of steps are offered by the experts, which are the result of the previously done assessments and evaluations of the expatriate candidates, and which will help in the cultural re-adjustment of an employee. These steps include the things, which an employee should be aware of during the relocation to a foreign and new country:
• All types of relationships will be impacted by the expatriate’s assignment in a foreign country, which should be realized by the employee. It should be expected by the employee that time and attention will be required with the patience for the renewing and rebuilding of those relationships to that original extent. The cultural adjustment will not be fast and prompt, and will require a period, and the same will occur at the time of re-adjustment in the home country.
Some other important things have been found and thought as helpful by the others. It should be expected that it would be very challenging for the employee during the repatriation in the new culture of a foreign country. All the accomplishments and skills that have been acquired by the employee should be listed down. Additionally, these accomplishments should be celebrated by the expatriate, and should be remembered by him or her during the relocation or re-adjustment process. A process of learning should be taken for the recalling purpose of these skills.
Other repatriates should be compared with the available notes, and it should be realized that all the repatriates are challenged in this regard. It should be assumed by the employee that he or she is in the new culture, and the skills should be used by the employee in these new surroundings too. A person should refrain from criticizing the new culture, norms, and values, and should make a habit of accepting without showing approval or disapproval.
One or more safe places should be identified for the retreating process under the stress. This may help in the re-collection of quietness, beautiful views, and wonderful memories. At least one person should be engaged, with whom your thoughts can be taken and listened non-judgmentally. One should also credit him or herself for being bicultural and different from others. As the adjustment has been done very well in the new foreign country and it has effectively served in the life. In time, the cultural re-adjustment should be completed with the native land.
It is very important, as these experiences will not be shared by many known persons in the life. These experiences should be permitted for the elevation of the view of a global market and village. In order to resolve the overcoming cultural difficulties and differences, the pretence of appearances should be looked from the behind willingly. Additionally, basic human emotions should be learnt and understand in this regard. The individuals who come from different cultural backgrounds, religion, culture, language, norms, standards, and values can influence their lives by changing their perceptions and perceiving the same event in different possible positive ways.
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Leadership Development – Results focused Leadership thinking and practice from around the Globe
http://www.leader-values.com/Content/detail.asp?ContentDetailID=71 Accessed January 28, 2007
Living in the Middle East: Resources for Expatriates
http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/living/living_abroad/living_in_the_middle_east.shtml Accessed January 28, 2007
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HR Magazine – December 1995: Outsource Expatriate Support for<br>High Quality and Savings
http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/12expatriate.asp Accessed January 28, 2007
The Ideal Expatriate, by C. Grove & W. Hallowell
http://www.grovewell.com/pub-expat-assess.html Accessed January 28, 2007
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http://www.amazon.com/Sources-support-expatriate-performance-adjustment/dp/B000BCQ1MI Accessed January 28, 2007
Expat-Repat: Articles: Repatriation: Repatriation Strategies
http://www.expat-repat.com/strategies.php Accessed January 28, 2007
Life as an Expatriate
http://www.transitionsabroad.com/publications/magazine/0205/life_as_an_expatriate.shtml Accessed January 28, 2007