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Chapter 7

Re-entry and Career


Issues
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Chapter Objectives

This chapter deals with the post-assignment stage, which

raises issues for both the expatriate and the multinational.


We treat this stage as part of the international assignment.

Some of the issues may be connected to events that


occurred during the international assignment. We examine:

The
The process
process of
of re-entry
re-entry or
or repatriation
repatriation
Job-related
Job-related issues
issues
Social
Social factors,
factors, including
including family
family factors
factors that
that affect
affect re-entry
re-entry and
and
work
work adjustment
adjustment
Multinational
Multinational responses
responses to
to repatriate
repatriate concerns
concerns
Return
Return on
on investment
investment (ROI) and
and knowledge
knowledge transfer
Designing
Designing a repatriation programme.
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Re-entry
Expatriation process also includes repatriation:
The activity of bringing the expatriate back to the
home country.
Re-entry presents new challenges:

Expatriates may experience re-entry shock or


reverse cultural shock.
Some exit the company.

The multinationals ability to retain current and

attract future expatriates is affected by the


manner in which it handles repatriation.
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Expatriation Includes Repatriation

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The Repatriation Process

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Repatriation Phases
1. Preparation Developing plans for the future, and
gathering information about the new position

2. Physical relocation Removing personal effects,


breaking ties with colleagues and friends, and traveling
to the next posting, usually the home country

3. Transition Settling into temporary accommodation


where necessary, making arrangements for housing and
schooling, and carrying out other administrative tasks
(e.g., renew drivers license, applying for new health
insurance, banking, etc.)

4. Readjustment Coping with changes (e.g., company


changes, reverse culture shock, career demands, etc.)
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Repatriation Challenges
Little evidence in the literature that multinationals

view the preparation for repatriation as important as


pre-departure training.
Readjustment is the least understood and most
poorly handled.

52% of 287 surveyed subsidiaries reported repatriate reentry problems (Harzing, 1996).
44% turnover rate among 181 multinationals surveyed by
GMAC-GRS 2002
50% leave the firm within one year
39% of surveyed firms did not know their turnover rates
IBUS 618 Dr. Yang

Individual Reactions: Job-related


Factors
Career
Careeranxiety
anxiety
No post-assignment
No post-assignment
guarantee
guaranteeofofemployment
employment
Loss of visibility and
Loss of visibility and
isolation
isolation
Changes in the home
Changes in the home
workplace
workplace
Work
Workadjustment
adjustment
The employment
The employment
relationship
relationshipand
andcareer
career
expectation
expectation
Re-entry position
Re-entry position
Devaluing of the
Devaluing of the
international
internationalexperience
experience

Coping
Copingwith
withnew
newrole
role

demands
demands

Role
Rolebehavior
behavior
Role
Roleclarity
clarity
Role
Rolediscretion
discretion
Role
Roleconflict
conflict

Loss
Lossof
ofstatus
statusand
andpay
pay
Autonomy
Autonomy
Responsibility
Responsibility
Lower pay in absolute
Lower pay in absolute
terms
terms
Drop in housing conditions
Drop in housing conditions

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The Repatriates Role

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UK Repatriate Study
Surveyed 124 recently repatriated employees
Indicated five predictors for repatriate

maladjustment
In ranked order:

Length of time abroad


Unrealistic expectations of job opportunities in the
home country
Downward job mobility
Reduced work status
Negative perceptions of employers support during
and after repatriation
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The Readjustment Challenge

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Individual Reactions: Social Factors


International experience can distance the

repatriate (and family) socially and


psychologically (e.g., Kingpin syndrome,
financial loss)
Each family member undergoing readjustment
Re-establishing social networks can be difficult
Effect on partners career
Recent research indicates a decrease in spousal
assistance upon re-entry (e.g., job search, resume
preparation and career counselling)
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Multinational Responses
Staff availability

How repatriation is handled is critical

Return on investment (ROI)

Defining ROI in terms of expatriation


Gains accruing through repatriated staff

Knowledge transfer

A one-way activity?
Tacit and person-bound?

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Measuring ROI
Expatriates are expensive, averaged $1m/per

assignment by the U.S. multinational.


High turnover rates represent a substantial
financial and human capital loss to the firm.
Difficulties in measuring ROI (GMAC-GRS 2002):

Receiving feedback from the business unit concerned


Tracking international assignments in a systematic way
No formal planning
Lack of objective measures
Too many decisions made without cost considerations
of the international assignment
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Designing a Repatriate Program


Topics
Topicscovered
coveredby
byaarepatriation
repatriationprogram
program
Repatriation,
Repatriation,physical
physicalrelocation
relocationand
andtransition
transitioninformation
informationthat
thatthe
the
company
companywill
willhelp
helpwith
with
Financial
Financialand
andtax
taxassistance,
assistance,e.g.,
e.g.,benefit
benefitand
andtax
taxchanges,
changes,loss
lossofof
overseas
overseasallowances,
allowances,etc.
etc.
Re-entry
Re-entryposition
positionand
andcareer-path
career-pathassistance
assistance
Reverse
Reversecultural
culturalshock,
shock,including
includingfamily
familydisorientation
disorientation
School
Schoolsystems
systemsand
andchildrens
childrenseducation
educationand
andadaptation
adaptation
Workplace
Workplacechanges,
changes,e.g.,
e.g.,corporate
corporateculture,
culture,structure,
structure,
decentralization,
decentralization,etc.
etc.
Stress
Stressmanagement
managementand
andcommunication-related
communication-relatedtraining
training
Establishing
Establishingnetworking
networkingopportunities
opportunities
Help
Helpininforming
formingnew
newsocial
socialcontracts
contracts
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The Use of Mentors


Aims to alleviate the out-of-sight, out-of-mind feeling by

keeping expatriate informed


Mentor should ensure that the expatriate is not forgotten
when important decisions are made regarding positions
and promotions
Effective mentoring needs managing
Mentoring duties include:

Maintaining contact with the expatriate throughout the


assignment
Updating developments in the home country
Informing management developments
Providing assistance in the repatriation process
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Factors Affecting Mentoring


Size of expatriate workforce
Firms with over 250 expatriates are more likely
to assign mentors.
Who is responsible for repatriates

Corporate HR or a separate international


assignment unit is more likely to provide mentors
than the divisional level.

Company nationality
European firms are more likely to use mentors
than U.S. firms.
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Chapter Summary
This chapter has been concerned with the repatriation process.
We have covered:

The
The repatriation
repatriation process.
process.
Cultural
Culturalnovelty
noveltyhas
hasbeen
beenfound
foundto
toaffect
affectadjustment
adjustmentinin
the
thehost
hostcountry
countryand,
and,for
forthe
themajority
majorityof
ofrepatriates,
repatriates,
coming
cominghome
hometo
tothe
thefamiliar
familiarculture
culturemay
mayassist
assistinin
readjustment.
readjustment.
However, given the profound effect of job-related and
However, given the profound effect of job-related and
social
socialfactors,
factors,re-entry
re-entryshock
shockor
orreverse
reversecultural
culturalshock
shock
isislikely
likelyto
tooccur
occurininthe
thereadjustment
readjustmentprocess
processupon
upon
repatriation.
repatriation.
(cont.)
(cont.)

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Chapter Summary (cont.)


Job-related
Job-relatedissues
issues centered
centeredon
oncareer
careerissues
issuesupon
upon

re-entry.
re-entry.

Factors
Factorsthat
thataffect
affectcareer
careeranxiety
anxietyinclude
includeno
nopostpostassignment
assignmentguarantee
guaranteeof
ofemployment,
employment,fear
fearthat
thatthe
the
period
periodoverseas
overseashad
hadcaused
causedaaloss
lossof
ofvisibility,
visibility,changes
changes
ininthe
thehome
homeworkplace
workplacethat
thataffect
affectre-entry
re-entrypositions
positionsand
and
the
theemployment
employmentrelationship.
relationship.
The re-entry position is an important indicator of future
The re-entry position is an important indicator of future
career
careerprogression
progressionand
andthe
thevalue
valueplaced
placedon
oninternational
international
experience.
experience.Coping
Copingwith
withnew
newrole
roledemands
demandsisisanother
another
factor
factorininreadjustment,
readjustment,along
alongwith
withloss
lossof
ofstatus
statusand
andpay.
pay.
(cont.)
(cont.)

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Chapter Summary (cont.)


Social
Socialfactors
factorsexplored
exploredinclude
includeloss
lossof
of social
social

standing
standingand
andthe
the accompanying
accompanying loss
lossof
of the
the
expatriate
expatriatelifestyle.
lifestyle.

Family
Familyreadjustment
readjustmentisisalso
alsoimportant.
important.
A specific aspect is the effect of the international
A specific aspect is the effect of the international
assignment
assignmenton
onthe
thespouse/partners
spouse/partnerscareer,
career,such
suchas
as
being
beingre-employed
re-employedand
andhaving
havinginternational
internationalexperience
experience
recognized.
recognized.
(cont.)
(cont.)

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Chapter Summary (cont.)


Multinational
Multinationalresponses
responsesto
torepatriates
repatriatesconcerns
concerns

focused
focusedon
onre-entry
re-entryprocedures.
procedures.

How
Howrepatriation
repatriationaffect
affectstaff
staffavailability
availability
Whether companies are measuring and obtaining a return
Whether companies are measuring and obtaining a return
on
oninvestment
investmentthrough
throughinternational
internationalassignments,
assignments,and
and
The contribution of repatriates to knowledge transfer, and
The contribution of repatriates to knowledge transfer, and
Designing effective repatriation programs, including the
Designing effective repatriation programs, including the
use
useof
ofmentors.
mentors.
(cont.)
(cont.)

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Chapter Summary (cont.)


Although
Althoughthe
thefocus
focusof
ofthis
thischapter
chapterhas
hasbeen
beenrepatriation
repatriationininthe
the

general
generalsense,
sense,issues
issuesconcerning
concerningexpatriates
expatriatespost-assignment
post-assignment
career
careershould
shouldbe
beraised.
raised.
Viewing
Viewingrepatriation
repatriationas
aspart
partof
ofthe
theexpatriation
expatriationprocess,
process,as
as
suggested
suggestedininFigure
Figure7-1,
7-1,should
shouldremind
remindthose
thoseresponsible
responsiblefor
for
expatriation
expatriationmanagement
managementof
ofthe
theneed:
need:
To
Toprepare
preparerepatriates
repatriatesfor
forre-entry
re-entryand
and
To recognize the value of their international experience to both
To recognize the value of their international experience to both
parties.
parties.

Firm
Firmand
andcultural
culturalfactors
factorsshould
shouldbe
beunderstood
understoodininorder
orderto
to

develop
developand
andmanage
managean
aneffective
effectivementoring
mentoringsystem.
system.

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