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Expatriate Training and Support

Expatriate Training and Support

© 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. Expatriate Training & Support Michael Beitler, Ph. D. www. mikebeitler. com By necessity, much of the responsibility for success in international markets falls upon expatriate managers. Expatriate managers are managers working in countries other than their home countries. Successful implementation of a global business strategy requires expatriate managers with cross-cultural management skills. High Failure Rates Expatriate managers, especially U. S. anagers working in foreign countries, experience very high failure rates. Black and Gregersen (1999) report the following alarming findings: 1. Nearly one-third of U. S. managers sent abroad do not perform up to the expectations of their superiors. 2. Up to 20 percent of all U. S. managers sent abroad return Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 2 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. early because of job dissatisfaction or difficulties in adjusting to a foreign country. 3. One-fourth of U.

S. managers completing a foreign assignment left their company within one year after repatriation (often joining a competitor). Perhaps, what is even more disturbing than Black and Gregersen’s findings is the fact that we have known about these appalling failure rates for many years. In January of 1990, a Training & Development Journal article stated, “Up to 40 percent of U. S. expatriate managers fail in their overseas assignments” (Hogan and Goodson, 1990). In that same article, Hogan and Goodson described how the Japanese companies had achieved a dramatically better success rate with their expatriate anagers. They discussed one survey that stated “86 percent of multinational corporations in Japan had failure rates below 10 percent for their expatriates. ” Hogan and Goodson (1990) described the typical Japanese firm’s expatriate support program as follows: Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 3 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. 1. One year before managers depart, they devote company time to studying the culture and language of the destination country. 2.

In the foreign country, the expatriate managers work with mentors who are responsible directly to the head office for assisting the managers with cultural problems that arise. 3. The first-year performance appraisal form clearly indicates that the expatriate’s primary job during year one is to learn about and adjust to the host country. Hogan and Goodson (1990) recommended the following: 1. Training should aim at developing communication, leadership, conflict management, and other skills that fit the particular culture. 2. Predeparture training should be tailored to the Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. om 4 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. individual manager’s needs. A minimum requirement is a conversational knowledge of the host country’s language. 3. The expatriate’s family should receive predeparture training. 4. Sponsorship (a mentor) should provide on-going support. In a study involving survey responses of 72 human resource managers at multinational corporations (MNCs), 35 percent of the HR managers said cultural adaptability was the most important success factor in a foreign assignment (Dallas, 1995).

The Costs of the Problem The costs of these expatriate management failures are very high for the managers and their companies. Managers report personal relationship problems with family members who move to the foreign country with them, and a sense of disconnect with their families and friends in their home countries. Managers also report a fear of career derailment resulting from foreign assignment failure. Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 5 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested.

The companies experience very high costs, in terms of opportunity costs and hard costs. Opportunity costs include the loss of future business and reputation in the community. The failure of a U. S. manager enforces the stereotype of the culturally inept American. Hard costs of these failures for U. S. companies are staggering. One American expatriate manager I interviewed reported receiving a $10,000 per month housing allowance from her multinational corporation (MNC) while on a two-year assignment in Tokyo. She personally added a $1,000 per month to the allowance to rent an apartment.

Add the cost of several trips home per year, and multiply that by several hundred expatriate managers and one gets an idea of the hard costs involved. A Four-Phase Training Model Researchers (Harrison, 1994; Harris and Moran, 1991) have proposed a four-phase training model for expatriate managers: Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 6 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. 1. Self-awareness 2. General awareness of cultural differences 3. Specific knowledge acquisition 4.

Specific skills training Self-Awareness The self-awareness phase should be designed to provide the trainees with insight into their receptiveness and propensity for successful cross-cultural assignments. There are several psychological instruments available for managers and their family members, including the Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory (Kelley & Meyers, 1992) and the Intercultural Sensitivity Inventory (Bhawuk & Brislin, 1992). After completing several psychological instruments, it may become clear to the manager (or to his/her supervisor) that overseas assignment may not be appropriate.

Jordan and Cartwright (1998) believe successful expatriate managers have the following attributes: 1. Emotional stability Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 7 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. 2. Self-confidence 3. Intellectual capacity 4. Openness to new experiences 5. Relational ability 6. Linguistic skill 7. Cultural sensitivity 8. Ability to handle stress General Awareness of Cultural Differences The general awareness of cultural differences phase of training is now supported by an impressive body of literature.

Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck (1961), Hofstede (1980, 1993), and Trompenaars (1998) provide insight into how cultures differ on various dimensions. Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck (1961) describe six different cultural dimensions: 1. How people view humanity (good, evil, mixed) 2. How people see nature (domination, harmony, subjugation) Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 8 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. 3. How people approach interpersonal relationships individualistic, group, hierarchical) 4. How people view activity and achievement (being, controlling, doing) 5. How people view time (past, present, future) 6. How people view space (private, public, mixed) Bennett (1986) believes by educating individuals to recognize their own values, they can better identify contrasts with other cultures and then apply these insights gained to improving cross-cultural interactions. Harrison (1994) adds, “To appreciate the differences in other cultures, trainees must understand their own culture. ” Specific Knowledge Acquisition

The specific knowledge acquisition phase includes area studies, language studies, and host attitude awareness. Area studies, covering history, political system, economy, demographics, and climate are assumed to increase empathy, which will Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 9 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. modify behavior in cross-cultural interactions (Tung, 1981). Researchers (Copeland & Griggs, 1985; Harris & Moran, 1991) have found knowledge of the host country’s language to be essential.

Interestingly, an individual’s level of confidence and willingness to use the host language is a greater influence on success than his or her actual level of fluency (Mendenhall & Oddou, 1985). Therefore, building the trainee’s confidence and willingness is critical. In this phase, it is important for the trainee to become aware of the attitudes he or she will face in the host country. Work-related attitudes such as productivity, dependability, pace, frequency of breaks, meeting interruptions, and deadlines vary greatly from culture to culture.

Trainees must also be alerted to possible negative attitudes toward nationality, race, or gender. Specific Skills Training The specific skills training phase emphasizes the application and practice of the skills necessary to succeed in the foreign culture. In this phase, “trainees analyze the problem situation, diagnose the underlying cultural issues, and respond Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 10 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. accordingly” (Harrison, 1994).

Case studies, simulations, and behavior modeling allow for the application and practice of previously acquired knowledge. An effective skills training method is the simulated cocktail party (Earley, 1987). The interactions in this simulation require the use of greetings and introductions, etiquette, and appropriate topics for conversation. Mendenhall and Oddou (1998) believe this type of simulation forces the trainees to deal with emotions resulting from cross-cultural misunderstandings. Harrison (1992) describes the use of behavior modeling as an effective cross-cultural training tool.

Managers watch live or videotaped models demonstrating effective behaviors; then the managers rehearse the demonstrated behaviors. Trainers should be available to provide feedback. The Beitler and Frady Model Beitler and Frady’s (2002) model of Expatriate Manager Assessment and Development builds upon aspects of Harrison’s (1994) and Jordan and Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 11 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. Cartwright’s (1998) work. Beitler and Frady’s (2002) model includes the following steps: . Assessment 2. Individualized Learning Agreements 3. Pre-Departure Training/Orientation 4. E-Support During the Foreign Assignment 5. Periodic Re-Assessment 6. Learning Agreement Revisions 7. On-Going E-Support Let’s briefly look at each of the seven steps in Beitler and Frady’s (2002) model: Assessment Any management development program should begin with assessment. The assessment phase should be especially comprehensive for expatriates because of the unique KSAs required for foreign assignment. The typical management Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 12 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. assessment instruments are helpful, but they should be supplemented with instruments such as the Cross-Cultural Adaptability Instrument (CCAI) and the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS). Individualized Learning Agreements The learning agreement, as detailed in Beitler (2000, 1999), should include the following: a. What will be learned. b. How will it be learned. c. How will the learning be documented. d. How will the learning be evaluated.

Pre-Departure Training/Orientation At a minimum, this should include general awareness of the culture and basic language skills. It is important to include spouses and dependents, as well as the expatriate managers, in this phase. Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 13 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. E-Support During Foreign Assignment This step is critical in the Beitler and Frady (2002) model. Training and development for the expatriate manager only begins in the pre-departure phase.

On-going support is necessary for success. The expatriate manager will need to acquire additional KSAs after arriving in the host country. In the pre-departure phase, managers can acquire knowledge (K) through classroom learning, skills (S) through daily mentoring, and proper attitudes (A) through face-to-face counseling sessions. During foreign assignment, classroom learning must become E-learning, daily mentoring must become E-mentoring, and face-to-face counseling must become E-counseling. The technology is now available to support E-learning, Ementoring, and E-counseling (see Beitler & Frady, 2002).

Today’s global organizations must utilize that technology. Periodic Re-Assessment This is very important for the success of the foreign assignment. The expatriate Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 14 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. manager should receive as much feedback as possible. Guidance from a host country supervisor or sponsor would be ideal but is not always possible. At a minimum, peers and subordinates should be surveyed for input.

Learning Agreement Revisions New learning agreements should immediately follow the periodic performance reviews. Plans for enhancing strengths and ameliorating weaknesses should be clearly written. On-Going E-Support On-going support in the forms of E-learning, E-mentoring, and E-counseling is an investment that will yield substantial returns for the organization. This support should be well planned and monitored for continuous improvement. Who’s Involved? A comprehensive expatriate support system should include all four of the following: Expatriate Training & Support www. ikebeitler. com 15 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. 1. Manager 2. Spouse 3. Dependents 4. Host-country sponsor E-learning, E-mentoring, and E-counseling can be provided for all four stakeholders. The Role of Technology Knowledge created through expatriate training and support should be captured in a “codified” knowledge management (KM) system. This technology provides for the capturing and dissemination of individual expatriate knowledge for the benefit of the organization.

On-going, new learning should be constantly fed into the KM system. Each part of the expatriate training and support system should be linked to the KM system. Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 16 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. Conclusion Expatriate training and support is critically important to the success of international organizations. For more information on expatriate training and support check out chapter 7 of Mike’s book, “Strategic Organizational

Learning. ” http://www. strategic-organizational-learning. com/ Feel free to contact Mike at [email protected] com. REFERENCES Beitler, M. A. (1999). Learning and development agreements for mid-career professionals. Perfomance in Practice, Fall 1999, American Society for Training and Development. Beitler, M. A. (2000) The role of the contract learning in the learning organization. HR. com, September, 2000. Beitler, M. A. & Frady, D. A. (2002). E-learning and E-support for expatriate managers. In H. B. Long & Associates, Self-directed learning in the information age. Schaumberg, IL:

Motorola University Press. Bennett, J. M. (1986). Modes of cross-cultural training: Conceptualizing crossExpatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 17 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested. cultural training as education. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 10, 117-134. Bhawuk, D. P. S. & Brislin, R. (1992). The measurement of intercultural sensitivity using the concepts of individualism and collectivism. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 16, 413-436.

Black, J. S. & Gregersen, H. B. (1999). The right way to manage expats. Harvard Business Review, March-April, 53. Copeland, L. & Griggs, L. (1985). Going international. New York: Plume. Dallas, S. (1995). Rule No. 1: Don’t diss the locals. Business Week, May 15, 117-26. Earley, P. (1987). Intercultural training for managers: A comparison of documentary and interpersonal methods. Academy of Management Journal, 30, 685-698. Harris, P. R. & Moran, R. T. (1991). Managing cultural differences. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing. Harrison, J. K. (1992). The individual and combined effects of behavior odeling and the cultural assimilator in cross-cultural management training. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77(6), 952-962. Harrison, J. K. (1994). Developing successful expatriate managers: A framework for the structural design and strategic alignment of cross-cultural training programs. Human Resource Planning, September, v. 17, n. 3, 17-36. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Expatriate Training & Support www. mikebeitler. com 18 © 2005 All Rights Reserved – Michael Beitler Please feel free to send this article (unedited) to anyone and everyone who might be interested.

Hofstede, G. (1993). Cultural constraints in management theories. Academy of Management Executive, 7(1), 81-94. Hogan, G. W. & Goodson, J. R. (1990). The key to expatriate success. Training & Development Journal, January, 50-53. Jordan, J. & Cartwright, S. (1998). Selecting expatriate managers: Key traits and competencies. Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, March- April, v19, n2-3, 89-97. Kelley, C. & Meyers, J. E. (1992). The cross-cultural adaptability inventory. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press. Kluckhohn, F. & Strodtbeck, F. L. (1961). Variations in value orientations.

Evanston, IL: Row, Peterson. Mendenhall, M. & Oddou, G. (1985). The dimensions of expatriate acculturation: A review. Academy of Management Review, 10(1), 39-47. Oechsler, W. A. (1999). Global management and local systems of employment relations. In J. Engelhard & W. A. Oechsler (Eds. ), Internationales Management. Wiesbaden, Germany: Gabler. Trompenaars, F. (1998). Riding the waves of culture: Understanding diversity in global business (2nd ed. ). New York: McGraw-Hill. Tung, R. (1981). Selection and training of personnel for overseas assignments. Columbia Journal of World Business, Spring, 68 -78.