Planning for Expatriate Success

This is an excerpt from a paper I wrote while working on my MBA.To read the entire article, download the PDF “Planning for Expatriate Success.”

The modern day business environment requires organizations to compete on a global scale. In order to compete on a global scale, organizations must implement proper strategic plans to ensure that they remain competitive in the international markets. To ensure success, an organization must have a global strategic plan that covers all aspects of the business, including a globally conscious human resources strategy.

Global competition more often than not requires an organization to rethink their strategic plans. This reformulation of strategy must be done to ensure that products and services are tailored to the culture and environment of the region they are operating in. In the book titled International Assignments: An Integration of Strategy, Research, and Practice, the author’s provide insight into the specialized skills needed in the global environment when they write:

To effectively formulate or implement strategic plans for the 21st century, managers and executives must be able to focus on the unique needs of local foreign customers, suppliers, labor pools, government policies, and technology and at the same time on general trends in the world marketplace. For an individual, this requires tremendous environmental-scanning abilities just to pick up the information. It requires vast knowledge and processing abilities to categorize and interpret raw data effectively. It requires being able to understand and work well with people from different cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds as well as the ability to manage teams composed of cross-cultural members (Stroh, Black, Mendenhall, & Gregersen, 2005, p. 6).

In addition to the business practices and strategy, the global organization must ensure that their human resources strategy takes a global approach to the staffing of the organization. This strategy should include the hiring of a local workforce as well as the use of international assignments for their employees. Local staffing provides the cultural intelligence needed for the organization and key managers and leadership from outside the region to help build the organizations presence and environment in the new region/country. International assignments such as these can provide key employees valuable lessons in international management and multi-cultural organizations.

Selecting the ‘right’ person for an international assignment is just the first step for an organization. In addition to the selection process, an organization must properly plan for the relocation, reassignment and support of the employee and the employee’s family. To properly plan for the international assignment, an organization needs to consider all aspects of the assignment and prepare the assignee and their family for the relocation and immersion into a new culture and assignment. Runnion (2005) describes this planning process as a multi-stage process whereby goals, compensation, relocation services, support services and training services are agreed upon (Runnion, 2005, pp. 21-22) and then implemented.


  • Runnion, T. T. (2005, July 2005). Expatriate programs: From preparation to success. Workspan, 48(7), pp. 20-22.
  • Stroh, L. K., Black, J. S., Mendenhall, M. E., & Gregersen, H. B. (2005). International assignments: An integration of strategy, research and practice (1st ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

[tags] Expatriate Success, Human Resource, HR, Leadership, International Assignments [/tags]

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