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  • INTERNATIONALSUCCESS

    SELECTING, DEVELOPING, AND

    SUPPORTING EXPATRIATE MANAGERS

  • INTERNATIONALSUCCESS

    SELECTING, DEVELOPING, AND

    SUPPORTING EXPATRIATE MANAGERS

    Meena S. WilsonMaxine A. Dalton

    Center for Creative LeadershipGreensboro, North Carolina

  • The Center for Creative Leadership is an international, nonprofit educational institutionfounded in 1970 to advance the understanding, practice, and development of leadershipfor the benefit of society worldwide. As a part of this mission, it publishes books andreports that aim to contribute to a general process of inquiry and understanding in whichideas related to leadership are raised, exchanged, and evaluated. The ideas presented in itspublications are those of the author or authors.

    The Center thanks you for supporting its work through the purchase of this volume. Ifyou have comments, suggestions, or questions about any CCL Press publication, pleasecontact the Director of Publications at the address given below.

    Center for Creative LeadershipPost Office Box 26300

    Greensboro, North Carolina 27438-6300336-288-7210 www.ccl.org

    1998 Center for Creative Leadership

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy-ing, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Printedin the United States of America.

    CCL No. 180

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Wilson, Meena S.International success : selecting, developing, and supporting expatriate managers /

    Meena S. Wilson, Maxine A. Dalton.p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references.ISBN 1-882197-45-31. Corporations, Foreign. 2. Corporations, AmericanPersonnel management.

    3. ExecutivesTraining of. 4. Middle managersTraining of. 5. AmericansEmploymentForeign countries. I. Dalton, Maxine A. II. Title.HF5549.5.E45W523 1998658.4'07dc21 98-48114

    CIP

  • v

    Table of Contents

    LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES ...................................................................................... vi

    PREFACE ..................................................................................................................... vii

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................... ix

    INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................................. 1

    THE COSTS OF FAILURE ................................................................................................ 3

    WHAT DOES EXPATRIATE EFFECTIVENESS MEAN? ........................................................ 5

    HOW TO CREATE AND MAINTAIN A TALENT POOL OF EFFECTIVE EXPATRIATES ............ 7

    Selection ............................................................................................................... 8Short-term Considerations: Personality and Early-life Experiences ............. 8Long-term Consideration: Family Readiness .............................................. 12

    Development ...................................................................................................... 17Short-term Considerations: Language and Cultural Training...................... 17Long-term Consideration: On-the-job Development ................................... 19

    Support .............................................................................................................. 25Short-term Considerations: Outbound Transition and Family Adjustment ............................................................................................... 25Long-term Considerations: Equitable Compensation and Repatriation ...... 27

    Recommendations for Developing a Talent Pool of ExpatriateManagers ........................................................................................................... 30

    CAN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES BE LEARNED? ................................................................ 32

    REFERENCES AND SUGGESTED READINGS ..................................................................... 35

    APPENDIX A: DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH ................................................................... 39

    APPENDIX B: INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS ......................................................................... 48

  • vi International Success: Selecting, Developing, and Supporting Expatriate Managers

    Figures

    Figure 1. Expectations for Effectiveness ..................................................................... 6

    Figure 2. Selection-Development-Support (SDS) Framework ................................... 7

    Figure 3. Early-life Experiences: Lessons Learned from Most Frequently Cited Events ........................................................................................................... 10

    Figure 4. Tiers of Expertise ....................................................................................... 20

    Tables

    Table A1. Criterion Measure for Study 3 .................................................................. 43

    Table A2. NEO PI-R Scales: Zero Order Correlations ............................................. 44

    Table A3. Prospector Scales .................................................................................... 46

  • vii

    PREFACE

    In 1994 the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) launched the GlobalLeadership Research Project. One of the first studies associated with theproject was an investigation of the expatriate role. We began by reviewing therelevant academic and practical literature and talking with senior humanresources executives from several Fortune 500 companies. These people haveprimary responsibility for developing managers and making expatriateassignments. They told us that although their organizations were movingrelentlessly forward to participate in global markets, their senior managerswere ill prepared to live and work successfully outside of the U.S. Thesemanagers raised two questions: How can we improve the success rate of ourpeople sent out on international assignments? How do we build the benchstrength to staff our organizations internationally?

    Once we were clear about their concerns, we responded by conducting aseries of studies with expatriates and repatriates. Our purpose was to explorethe factors contributing to expatriate effectiveness in order to create baselineinformation about how companies can build their talent pool for staffingsenior international positions.

    This report is one product of that work.

  • ix

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    The authors thank all the organizations and people who have made thisreport possible.

    We gratefully acknowledge sponsorship of our research by the Colgate-Palmolive Company; E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.; Kraft General Foods/Phillip Morris Companies, Inc.; The Stanley Works; Saudi ARAMCO; SwissBank Corporation; and Texaco, Inc. We also thank the many human resourcesprofessionals from these and other organizations who contributed their insiderobservations and shaped this endeavor.

    The thoughtful comments and encouragement of our internal andexternal reviewersPatrick Carmichael, Jennifer Deal, Chris Ernst, LilyKelly-Radford, Harry Lane, Rebecca Lotsoff, Tom Perryman, and ValerieSessaand our editor, Marcia Horowitz, gave final form to this report, andwe thank them.

    We also appreciate early contributions to this research by our CCLcolleagues John Fleenor, Michael Hoppe, Gordon Patterson, and Ellen VanVelsor, and later contributions to the typing of the manuscript by Renea King.In particular, we thank Denise Craig, our partner in this endeavor, for count-less hours spent scheduling, preparing materials, coordinating interviews, andpreparing reports.

    Finally, of course, we deeply appreciate the participation of those whohave helped us gain the knowledge presented in this report, the expatriatesand repatriates themselves and their bosses and colleagues. We cannot ad-equately thank them for their generous contribution of themselves and theirtime. We hope this report represents for them, as it does for us, a smallcelebration of the victories that they have achieved as expatriate managersand frontiersmen for their companies.

  • 1

    INTRODUCTION

    As multinational organizations become more common, they play anincreasingly potent role in the global economy. The expatriate managers whowork for such companiesthat is, those who work in a country or cultureother than their ownexperience great pressures to succeed in their assign-ments. However, the success rate of many expatriates (especially those fromthe U.S.) is not high and many leave assignments prematurely. An additionalcomplicating factor is that organizations often fail to provide the supportsystems that would ensure superior job performance.

    It is essential that international companies be better equipped to plan forthe success of expatriate managers if they want to thrive in the globaleconomy. But human resources executives and others responsible for expatri-ate assignments have little to guide them.

    This report provides such guidance through sharing a practical frame-work that we have developed called the Selection-Development-Support(SDS) framework. It draws on the results of a series of research studies ofexpatriates and repatriates and on what practitioners and scholars say aboutselecting, developing, and supporting effective expatriates. This frameworkprovides a systematic way of considering issues critical to successful expatri-ate performance.

    The three studies we conducted included eighty-nine expatriates fromthe Americas,

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