Global Communication Research Paper Examples
The world has gotten smaller since the emergence of globalization. Businesses with their products and services expanded and found markets abroad. Although they employ locals, the companies abroad needed authentic direction from expatriates in order to make parallel growth with the mother company.
In this study, we aim to create a guide in leveraging expatriates. This is to enable us to examine the benefits and uses of expatriation for the concerned organizations. In this regard, we would present the benefits, challenges, as well as trends in sending expatriates abroad. Furthermore, these include analyzing geographical considerations and business strategies for expansion. Most importantly, we would identify criteria in choosing employees for expatriation and methods of encouragement. At the end of the study, we would recommend books to read for the selected expatriates and a guide outlining their necessities. We would obtain knowledge from scholarly journals, textbooks, and online articles.
Before we proceed, let us first explore the idea of expatriation. In the United States Congress of 1868, it stated that expatriation is a right of the people. The US perspective supports expatriation as essential to individual’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. It attempts to present equal opportunities and indicates that that all employees deserve it for further advancement. Many other countries also have an idea of expatriation. Nonetheless, it simply means moving to another country. An American working in Europe is no different from a British living in the United States. They are called expatriates or expats, for short. Perhaps the difference that each country would point out in their versions of expatriation is indicated in their laws as we have exemplified with the US Congress. For one, expatriation frees expats from tax obligations of the native country. This is not the case, however, when it comes to the US, as the government still requires tax from Americans wherever they are (McFarlin & Sweeney, 2013; Casey, 2014).
The biggest difference there is in expatriation is the cultural boundary. This is also considered to be the most difficult challenge to overcome. Several managers of American and European companies perceive that they must not send female expatriates. This is because it would be tough for them to fulfill expatriate roles where local norms are extreme. Saudi Arabia, for example, still has tension on gender roles. The men would not take business deals with women seriously. On the part of women, they would have more burdens in going about their business. Other than gender roles, women would experience travel inconvenience as it is prohibited for them to drive. It has similar case in Russia and most of Africa. Few women in these locations reach the top management. 75% of the population consists of unemployed females. Certainly, this knowledge about the risks in tensioned locations affects the decision of the higher-ups who would likely lean in an antagonistic stance (Cole, 2005; McFarlin & Sweeney, 2013).
These perceptions may have also come from the employers themselves. They have been so embedded through laws and tradition that the bosses have formed stereotypes such as women not being as interested in expatriation as men because of family worries. There is discrimination implied. As a result, women from the West find it more difficult to simply acquire expatriation assignments than men of similar skill sets and backgrounds. Despite this, a growing trend of women expatriates is picking up globally. It has grown to 25% from an average of 10% to 15% in the past years. This is because the benefits seem to outweigh the challenges. It is important to note that people respond to incentives. This is likely why they keep working in the first place. Other than the freedom away from socio-political troubles -- which they may have had in their native country -- they get to experience a sponsored travel and accommodation while also being well compensated. Companies invest in their expats. As discussed, they represent the mother company. Thus, they give directions and insights from the headquarters to the business expansion. Simultaneously, companies also leverage expats as models to emulate. This is done through holding conferences where expats share their experiences with their audience abroad, providing a positive outlook about themselves and the company (Cole, 2005; Price, Herod, & Burns-Green, 2012; McFarlin & Sweeney, 2013; Casey, 2014).
Most importantly, the stereotypes do not seem to play a significant role when expatriates actually proceed to their assignments. They are generally seen as foreigners first overshadowing discriminatory perceptions. They are seen as authentic and in turn, they are taken more seriously. Prospective foreign business partners are curious in what they bring to the table. With this, women expatriates have less business troubles than the locals (Cole, 2005; McFarlin & Sweeney, 2013). This brings us to a crucial benefit of this report. In knowing the benefits, challenges, and trends surrounding expatriation today, organizations would be able to reconsider better and appropriate expansion efforts. Furthermore, companies would be able to better support their expats. It is important to note that expats are assets that companies have invested in. It is only fitting that they would want to see them succeed in their roles.
Given the daunting challenges on cultural and socio-political differences, we have found solutions in diversity issues. McFarlin and Sweeney (2013), on avoiding stereotypes when selecting expats, stated not to assume disinterest from the candidates especially the women. In another study, it suggested that women expats could adjust better than the males. This meant that the companies’ desire to establish stable growth and competitive advantage would be less problematic as expats could proceed directly to business dealings rather than exerting effort on ice breakers. The expats themselves must also exert effort in developing positive perceptions on the matter. This is done by providing them with appropriate trainings such as knowledge on local attitudes and the ways to respond. When the expats precede going abroad, training and support on diversity issues must continue overseas as well. This goes hand in hand with introducing expats in a positive regard (Cole, 2005; McFarlin & Sweeney, 2013).
Since the differences are highly geographical, we would present the most favorable places to expand and send expats. As of 2014, the top 3 best places for expats are Ecuador, Luxembourg, and Mexico. The indicators used in the study include the general quality life index, ease of settling, work abroad, family life, and personal finance. Ecuador emerged as the highest in overall ranking of these indices especially on personal finance since the country has been in a pleasing financial situation. It is also relatively easy to settle down and make friends in the country. The only challenge is language. Spanish is found to be easy to learn, though. Luxembourg follows in the second spot for having an abundant career opportunity. Career advancement here could be found through finding a job for oneself, through employers’ request, or through recruitment. The above-average transportation and health infrastructures are able to support such environment. Mexico makes it in the third spot for easy settlement. The transportation infrastructure, though, is unsatisfactory (Grossman, 2014). Given these favorable places, we recommend Ecuador and Mexico for expansion. These two have similar quality life indices. They have ranked on allowing for the companies to plan more focused strategies in expatriation assignments. Companies, for example, may put up a Spanish language class that enables expats to thrive in both the countries.
Selecting favorable geographical locations for business expansion takes us halfway through expatriation competence. The other half demands companies to discern their global representatives well. Here, we would discuss the criteria to consider in choosing the employees to send abroad. There are two general considerations to take in expatriate selection, the individual and situational. Technical ability, cross-cultural suitability, and family requirements are under the individual considerations. Meanwhile, country requirements, language, and multinational enterprise requirements are the ones under situational. So far, we have discussed situational considerations. This time, we would expound on the individual considerations (Al Masri, 2015).
First is the technical ability. Certainly, companies have skill requirements that they need in order to have the tasks fulfilled. They have to make sure that the candidates for expatriation have expertise in the field they are hired for. The years of experience do not matter as much as the knowledge in carrying out tasks. The second individual consideration is cross-cultural suitability. It pertains to the employees’ ability to learn a language and to their openness to cultural nuances. It means that the candidates would be gauged through their emotional stability. The last individual consideration is family requirements. Perhaps there would be less family concerns when the candidates are single. The ones with a family give importance to family members especially to the spouse. They take their family with them to the assigned country. With this, the burden of organizing new family life could be placed on the spouse. He or she may have abandoned a career back in their native country. Moreover, the spouse often could not readily work in the assigned country. These may add to children’s concern, prompting the family as well as the expatriate to return home early. The study showed us that the selection criteria for expatriates do not greatly differ from regular local employees. Since this is an international business expansion, companies have to identify their international market penetration strategy. From here, the particular consideration for expatriation would be set (Al Masri, 2015).
Once the candidates are selected for expatriation, we would recommend one of the sources used in this study, the International Organizational Behavior: Transcending Borders and Cultures of McFarlin and Sweeney (2013) for them. It tackles the matter through a business approach while maintaining cultural undertones. It would be useful in helping the expatriate overcome the greatest challenge of expatriation, which is cultural difference. Another book we would recommend is a memoir as this may inspire them. It is entitled Rambling of a Deluded Soul written by Jack Barton (2011). He shared his experiences as a traveler and an expatriate in Europe.
Despite what we have discussed, expatriation still seems complicated that outlining a guide would be necessary. This guide is particularly for expatriates residing abroad for the period of one to two years. This duration is short. Thus, the items to pack would lean towards necessity and functionality rather than leisurely. Once an expatriate has arrived in the assigned country, he or she would be able to afford basic needs. At times like this, the expatriate would need his or her files and computer the most. Moreover, rentals for accommodations of property and car would suffice rather than owning them. It is important to note that such expatriate would leave soon. Through renting, the expatriate would not have to deal with property taxes and maintenance (McGorian & Morton, 2013).
In conclusion, expatriation enables the mother company to lead its international branches in parallel with its visions through the expatriates. Expatriates represent the company to his or her assigned country. In this regard, he or she must have the competencies that the company would invest on as it would in a global business expansion. There may be challenges especially on cultural differences. However, with trainings and other guidelines, expatriates would be able to overcome them.
Al Masri, M. N. (2015). Factors in expatriate selections. International Human Resource Management. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/7457860/factors_in_expatriate_selections
Barton , J. (2011). Rambling of a deluded soul. USA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Casey, D. (2014). The American expatriation guide: How to divorce the US government. Casey Research. Retrieved from http://www.internationalman.com/articles/the-american- expatriation-guide-how-to-divorce-the-us-government
Cole, N. (2005). Why do female expatriates fit in better than males? Ryerson University. Retrieved from http://www.ryerson.ca/~iri/papers/ncole.pdf
Grossmann, V. (2014). The best and worst places for expats. InterNations. Retrieved from http://www.internations.org/expat-insider/2014/the-best-and-worst-places-for-expats
McFarlin, D. B., & Sweeney, P. D. (2013). International organizational behavior: Transcending borders and cultures. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis.
McGorian, I., & Morton, B. (2013). Expatriates: The why and the how. Retrieved from http://www.21century.co.za/files/2013/10/Expat-article-29-August-2013.pdf
Price, M., Herod, R., & Burns-Green, C. (2012). Benefits challenge trends for expatriates and internationally mobile employees. Marsh & McLennan Companies. Retrieved from http://www.imercer.com/uploads/GM/webcasts/expatriate-benefits-webcast-120328a.pdf