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Mentorship of expatriates in transnational companies

Zaza Nadja Lee Hansen (Department of Management Engineering, The Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark)
Lauge Baungaard Rasmussen (Department of Management Engineering, The Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark)

Journal of Global Mobility

ISSN: 2049-8799

Article publication date: 13 June 2016

1408

Abstract

Purpose

Due to a number of reported failures of expatriation assignments, a growing body of literature is exploring the possible roles of mentors in supporting expatriates in critical phases while working in another culture. The purpose of this paper is to expand upon the research of mentoring based on a literature review and an empirical study of mentoring expatriates in three transnational companies.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on findings from three case companies based in Denmark. In total, 37 semi-structured interviews were conducted with expatriates, managers and vice presidents at the three home organizations and their subsidiaries.

Findings

Several empirical studies, including the study presented in this paper, indicate that ethnocentrism in the home-company is a main constraint for cross-cultural learning mediated by the expatriates. It is suggested that the HR department in the home-company should create specialized professional training programs and recruit employees with practical knowledge about expatriation. However, personal and relational mentoring should be conducted by experienced and motivated individuals who are supported and recognized, but not controlled, by the HR department.

Research limitations/implications

This research is focused on Danish companies and further research is needed to test the theories in other cultural settings.

Practical implications

This research can help companies and expatriates gain a more successful expatriation period.

Originality/value

The value and role of mentorship is detailed from a theoretical and practical perspective, which adds to the body of literature on expatriates and mentorship.

Keywords

Citation

Hansen, Z.N.L. and Rasmussen, L.B. (2016), "Mentorship of expatriates in transnational companies", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 176-201. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGM-05-2015-0018

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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