Chapter 14: Human Resource Selection and Development Across Cultures
Learning Objectives and Chapter Summary
IDENTIFY the three basic sources that MNCs can tap in filling management vacancies in overseas operations in addition to options of subcontracting and outsourcing.
MNCs can use four basic sources for filling overseas positions: home-country nationals (expatriates), host-country nationals, third-country nationals, and inpatriates. The most common reason for using home-country nationals, or expatriates, is to get the overseas operation under way. Once this is done, many MNCs turn the top management job over to a host-country national who is familiar with the culture and language and who often commands a lower salary than the home-country national. The primary reason for using third-country nationals is that these individuals have the necessary expertise for the job. The use of inpatriates (a host-country or third-country national assigned to the home office) recognizes the need for diversity at the home office. This movement builds a transnational core competency for MNCs. In addition, MNCs can subcontract or outsource to take advantage of lower human resource costs and increase flexibility.
DESCRIBE the selection criteria and procedures used by the organization and individual managers when making final decisions.
Many criteria are used in selecting managers for overseas assignments. Some of these include adaptability, independence, self-reliance, physical and emotional health, age, experience, education, knowledge of the local language, motivation, the support of spouse and children, and leadership.
Individuals who meet selection criteria are given some form of screening. Some firms use psychological testing, but this approach has lost popularity in recent years. More commonly, candidates are given interviews. Theoretic models that identify important anticipatory and in-country dimensions adjustment, offers help in effective selection.
Compensating expatriates can be a difficult problem, because there are many variables to consider. However, most compensation packages are designed around five common elements: base salary, benefits, allowances, incentives, and taxes. Working within these elements, the MNC will tailor the package to fit the specific situation. In doing so, there are five different approaches that can be used: balance-sheet approach, localization, lump sum method, the cafeteria approach, and the regional method. Whichever one (or combination) is used, the package must be both cost-effective and fair.
A manager might be willing to take an international assignment for a number of reasons: increased pay, promotion potential, the opportunity for greater responsibility, the chance to travel, and the ability to use his or her talents and skills. Research shows that most home countries prefer that the individual who is selected to head the affiliate or subsidiary be a local manager, even though this often does not occur.
DISCUSS the reasons why people return from overseas assignments, and present some of the strategies used to ensure a smooth transition back into the home-market operation.
At some time, most expatriates return home, usually when the predetermined tour is over. Sometimes, managers return because they want to leave early; other times, they return because of poor performance on their part. In any event, readjustment problems can arise back home, and the longer the managers have been gone, the bigger the problems usually are. Some firms now are developing transition strategies to help expatriates adjust to their new environments.
DESCRIBE the training process, the most common reasons for training, and the types of training that often are provided.
Training is the process of altering employee behavior and attitudes to increase the probability of goal attainment. Many expatriates need training before (as well as during) their overseas stay. A...
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