Chapter 4Recruiting and Selecting Staff for International Assignments
Chapter Objectives In Part I, we demonstrated how people play a central role in sustaining international operations. As international assignments are an important vehicle for staffing, it is critical that they are managed effectively, and the expatriates are supported so that performance outcomes are achieved.
Chapter Objectives (cont.) The focus of this chapter is on recruitment and selection activities in an international context. We will address the following issues: The myth of the global manager The debate surrounding expatriate failure Factors moderating intent to stay or leave the international assignment Selection criteria for international assignments Dual-career couples Gender issues
The global managerMyth 1: There is a universal approach to management.Myth 2: People can acquire multicultural adaptability and behaviors.Myth 3: There are common characteristics shared by successful international managers.Myth 4: There are no impediments to mobility.
Current Expatriate Profile Category PCN (42%) HCN (16%) TCN (42%) Gender Male (82%) Female (18%) Age (Yrs) 30-49 (60%) 20-29 (17%) Marital status Married (65%) Single (26%) Partner (9%) Accompanied by Spouse (86%) Children (59%) Duration 1-3 years (52%) Short-term (9%) Location Europe (35%) Asia-Pacific (24%) Primary reason Fill a position Prior international experience 30%Source: based on data from global Relocation Trends: 2002 Survey Report, GMAC Global Relocation Services,National Foreign Trade Council and SHRM Global Forum, GMAC-GRS 2003.
Expatriate Failure Definition: Premature return of an expatriate Under-performance during an international assignment Retention upon completion
Reason for Expatriate Failure US Firms Japanese Firms Inability of spouse to Inability to cope with adjust larger overseas responsibilities Manager’s inability to Difficulties with the new adjust environment Other family problems Personal or emotional Manager’s personal or problems emotional immaturity Lack of technical Inability to cope with competence larger overseas Inability of spouse to responsibilities adjust European Multinationals: Inability of spouse to adjust.
Costs of Expatriate Failure Direct costs: Costs vary Airfares according to: Associated Level of position relocation expenses Country of Salary and benefits destination Training and Exchange rates development Whether ‘failed’ Averaged $250,000 manager is replaced per early return by another expatriate
Indirect Cost of Expatriate Failure Damaged relationships with key stakeholders in the foreign location Negative effects on local staff Poor labor relations Negative effects on expatriate concerned Family relationships may be affected Loss of market share
Factors Moderating ExpatriatePerformance Inability to adjust to the foreign culture Length of assignment Willingness to move Work-related factors Psychological contract/employment relationship
The Employment Relationship The nature of the employment relationship Relational: broad, open-ended and long-term obligations Transactional: specific short-term monetized obligations The condition of the relationship Intact: when employee considers there has been fair treatment, reciprocal trust Violated: provoked by belief organization has not fulfilled its obligations
The Phases of Adjustment The U-Curve is not normative The time period involved varies between individuals The U-Curve does not explain how and why people move through the various phases It may be more cyclical than a U-Curve Needs to consider repatriation
Organizational Commitment Affective component Employee’s attachment to, identification with and involvement in, the organization Continuance component Based on assessed costs associated with exiting the organization Normative component Employee’s feelings of obligation to remain
Why consider the psychologicalcontract? Nature, location and duration of an international assignment may provoke intense, individual reactions to perceived violations Expatriates tend to have broad, elaborate, employment relationships with greater emphasis on relational nature Expectations and promises underpin this relationship
Selection Criteria Technical ability Cross-cultural suitability Family requirements Country-cultural requirements MNE requirements Language
Using Traits and Personality Tests toPredict Expatriate Success Although some tests may be useful in suggesting potential problems, there may be little correlation between test scores and performance Most of the tests have been devised in the United States, thus culture-bound In some countries, there is controversy about the use of psychological tests ( different pattern of usage across countries) Use of personality traits to predict intercultural competence is complicated by the fact that personality traits are not defined and evaluated in similar way in different cultures
Mendenhall and Oddou’s Model Self-oriented dimension Perceptual dimension Others-oriented dimension Cultural-toughness dimension
Harris and Brewster’s Selection TypologyFormal InformalOpen Clearly defined criteria Less defined criteria Clearly defined measures Less defined measures Training for selectors Limited training for selectors Open advertising of vacancy Open advertising of vacancy (internal/external) Recommendations Panel discussions No panel discussionsClosed Clearly defined criteria Selector’s individual preferences Clearly defined measures determine selection criteria and measures Training for selectors No panel discussions Panel discussions Nominations only (networking/reputation) Nominations only (networking/reputation)
Solutions to the Dual-career Challenge Alternative assignment arrangements Short-term Commuter Other (e.g. unaccompanied, business travel, virtual assignments) Family-friendly policies Inter-company networking Job-hunting assistance Intra-company employment On-assignment career support
Barriers to Females TakingInternational Assignments External Barrier Self-established Barriers HR managers reluctant to Some women have limited select female candidates willingness to relocate Culturally tough locations or The dual-career couple regions preclude female Women are often a barrier to expatriates their own careers by behaving Those selecting expatriates according to gender based have stereotypes in their role models. minds that influence decisions
Equal Employment Opportunity Issues Cultural Variations Law and enforcement Social values Corporate practices The United States EEOA within the country International approach
Chapter Summary This chapter has addressed key issues affecting recruitment and selection for international assignments. We have covered: Four myths related to the concept of a global manager The debate surrounding the definition and magnitude of expatriate failure. (cont.)
Chapter Summary (cont.) Cultural adjustment and other moderating factors affecting expatriate intent to stay and performance. Individual and situational factors to be considered in the selection decision. Evaluation of the common criteria used revealed the difficulty of selecting the right candidate for an international assignment and the importance of including family considerations in the selection process. (cont.)
Chapter Summary (cont.) Dual-career couples as a barrier to staff mobility, and the techniques that multinationals are utilizing to overcome this constraint. Female expatriates and whether they face different issues to their male counterparts. It is clear that, while our appreciation of the issues surroundingexpatriate recruitment and selection has deepened in the past 20 years,much remains to be explored. The field is dominated by US research into predominantly US samplesof expatriates, although there has been an upsurge in interest fromEuropean academics and practitioners.
Chapter SummaryIt is also apparent that staff selection remains critical.Finding the right people to fill positions, particularlykey managers – whether PCN, TCN or HCN – candetermine international expansion.However, effective recruitment and selection are onlythe first step.We will explore in the next chapter that maintainingand retaining productive staff are equally important.
Chapter Summary Corporate philosophy on recruiting and selection Selection criteria and issues of concern Local and home countries’ policies on foreign labor Variations in national labor law and labor markets Inter-company networking Intra-company arrangement Career assistance programs Training and continuous adaptation
Chapter Summary (cont.)Will the factors affecting the selection decision be similar formultinationals emerging from countries such as China and India?If more multinationals are to encourage subsidiary staff toconsider international assignments as part of an intra-organizationalnetwork approach to management, we will need furtherunderstanding of how valid the issues discussed in this chapter arefor all categories of staff from different country locations.Another area that remains ignored is the selection of non-expatriates, that is, the international business travelers we discussedin Chapter 3. In our survey of current literature, there is a paucityof recognition of this group.(cont.)
Chapter Summary (cont.)The various consulting firm surveys conducted intorelocation trends in 2002 that we draw on in thischapter indicate that more multinationals areresorting to replacing traditional assignments withbusiness travel as a way of overcoming staffimmobility. Likewise, there is a need for furtherwork into the performance–selection linksurrounding non-standard assignments, includingcommuter and virtual assignments.