TITLE

Expatriate Assignments: Enhancing Success and Minimizing Failure

AUTHOR(S)
Tung, Rosalie L.
PUB. DATE
May 1987
SOURCE
Academy of Management Executive (08963789);May1987, Vol. 1 Issue 2, p117
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The high rate of expatriate failure among U.S. multinationals stems from several factors: the family situation, lack of cross-cultural relational abilities, the short duration of overseas assignments, problems of repatriation, overemphasis on the technical competence criterion to the disregard of other important attributes such as relational abilities, and inadequate training for cross-cultural encounters. Tung examines the expatriation policies of 17 European and 18 Japanese multinational firms that experienced significantly lower incidences of failure than American multinationals, and found the common denominators to successful performance in these firms. They were (1) long-term orientation with regard to overall planning and assessment of performance, (2) use of more rigorous programs to prepare candidates for overseas assignments; (3) provision of a comprehensive support system to expatriates; (4) overall qualification of candidates for overseas assignments; and (5) restricted job mobility. In the European multinationals, three additional factors enhanced the incidences of success: their international orientation, longer history of overseas operations, and language capability. In the Japanese firms, two other factors that accounted for the lower failure rate were selection for overseas assignments and the role of the family. On the basis of these findings, Tung suggests that to enhance expatriate success and minimize failure, U.S. multinationals (1) adopt a longer-term orientation with regard to expatriate assignments and provide support mechanisms at corporate headquarters to allay concerns about repatriation; (2) develop a more international orientation; and (3) provide more rigorous training programs to prepare expatriates for cross-cultural encounters.
ACCESSION #
4275826

 

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