The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on how success and failure for international assignments have been defined, and integrate several proposals for these…
The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on how success and failure for international assignments have been defined, and integrate several proposals for these definitions into a multi-dimensional model that considers task performance, relationship building, contextual performance and retention as all being part of how success or failure should be defined. The authors also discuss two proposed pre-requisites for success – absorptive capacity (operationalized at both the individual and the unit levels) and adjustment. The authors conclude by bringing in literature on performance management and how ideas about performance management must also be integrated into the discussion of the success or failure of international assignments.
This paper reviews existing proposals regarding the definition of expatriate success and failure, and proposes a multidimensional model of success based on the past literature. Based on this literature the authors also propose two pre-requisites for success and discuss several requisite KSAOs, as well as some suggestions from the literature on performance management.
The authors argue for a multidimensional model of expatiate success which includes task performance, relationship building, contextual performance and retention as part of what constitutes a successful assignment. The authors also argue that absorptive capacity and adjustment should be considered as pre-requisites for success, and that principles from performance management should be applied to dealing with international assignments.
A more comprehensive definition of success and failure should aid research by providing a better dependent variable, and by leading to research on various aspects of this outcome.
The proposed model and approach can hopefully help practice by clarifying the different dimensions of success and how performance management techniques can be applied to dealing with international assignments.
There has been a lot written about how we should operationalize the success or failure of international assignments. The present paper reviews that literature and integrates a number of ideas and suggestions into a multi-dimensional model which includes information about pre-requisites for success and relevant KSAOs, along with ideas from performance management to help insure the success of these assignments.
Although several authors have suggested that host country nationals (HCNs) play an important role in the management of expatriates (e.g. Toh and DeNisi, 2003; Farh et al.…
Although several authors have suggested that host country nationals (HCNs) play an important role in the management of expatriates (e.g. Toh and DeNisi, 2003; Farh et al., 2010), research has also suggested that this relationship is not always good, and the flow of critical information to expatriates can be limited. This is especially true when HCNs categorize the expatriates as “out-group” members. The purpose of this paper is to examine potential determinants of categorization decisions as well as potential outcomes related to expatriate socialization.
The paper employs a dyadic survey approach to determine the antecedents to expatriate categorization and HCN socialization behaviors from the perspective of both the expatriate and HCN.
The results of survey data from 65 expatriate-HCN dyads indicated that expatriate ethnocentrism and the salience of the expatriates’ nationality were important predictors of categorization, but that categorization was related to only one dimension of socialization. However, affect was found to play a role in predicting socialization behaviors.
There is potential selection bias since expatriates chose HCNs as respondents, but results suggested this was not a serious problem. Other limitations include a relatively small sample size and the fact that a number of contextual issues such as national stereotypes and MNC strategy, are not controlled for.
Implications of these findings for the successful management of expatriate assignments include sending over expatriates with the right relational skills, and those low in ethnocentrism, rather than just the right technical skills.
The present study was one of the first to empirically test the potential role of categorization in the process of socialization.