As businesses are now surviving in the globalisation era, itis not hard to tell that there is an increasing interest in employingexpatriates to deal with international assignments. (Abdullah and Cheam, 2011)Senior expatriates at managerial level who are experienced and skillful arehigh in demand for the international market. (Kamgoen and Duangkaew, 2008) Somecompanies choose to hire these elites from other regions of the world, whereaslarger companies tend to train their best men to become one. (Suutari, 1998) Itis common for one to have their own kind of perceptions or assumptions abouthow the world or a country works.
In order to break through these stereotypicalthoughts, the best way is to assign one to work abroad for at least a fewmonths, to let him or her to experience local lifestyle. (Black and Gregerson,1999)The definition of migration does not only restrict to themovement of people from one country to another, but also the movement ofcultures. (Castles & Miller 2009; as cited in World Bank, 2010)Interestingly, western companies tend to use home-country expatriate managersto run international operation, despite the issues with difficulties inadjusting to new environment are found. (Suutari, 1998) Kamgoen and Duangkaew(2008) then pointed out that multinational companies hire expatriate managerswho understand Western management mostly for the reason being companies believein western expatriate manager’s management style, and hoping to benefit fromtheir different kind of management and leadership act. Most of the developing countries’ labour force is made up ofinternational migrants, and there are challenges and debate as to the vigorousjob competition between migrants and the locals. (World Bank, 2010)Furthermore, migrants and the locals tend to experience cultural shocks workingin the same environment. The following, will be a case study by Kamgoen andDuangkaew (2008) looking at how Thai culture has affected expatriates’leadership in management position.As Thailand is recovering from the economic crisis in 1997,there is an increase in the number of overseas organisations who chose to investin Thailand, and setting up their Asia-headquarters in Thailand.
Without adoubt, there is also an increase of expatriates working in Thailand. CB RichardEllis (CBRE) Co., Ltd, an American real estate chain operates in Thailand, ledby a Britain leader decided to hire more Western employees after realising thesharp increase in Western customers. The management team believes that byintroducing more western employees into the company, they are able to retainlarge number of western customers. As the employees come from the same culturalbackground as the customers, they know better about the needs and wants ofcustomers.
However, when it comes to tasks in relation to communicatewith Thai officials from Land Department or Government officers, it would beThai employees’ specialty. The sharing of knowledge, culture and experienceamong each other is important, as it drives the working efficiency and qualityto the next level. Being able to expand its sales to western customers has makethe CBRE’s business competitive and stands out from its pool of competitors. CBRE’s managers are made up of expatriates and locals. It wasfound that though the company was operated in Thailand, its business culturestends to be a mix of both Thai and Anglo-Saxon culture.
Instead of obeying, andblend into the Thai cultures, expatriates tend to influence their colleague andThai subordinates by pushing their culture and exercising their values. Moreover,as Thai have higher flexibility in following power distribution and acceptanceas to uncertainty (Hofstede, 1980, as cited in Kamgoen and Duangkaew, 2008),Thai colleagues would eventually accept the influence of Western culture withinthe organisation.Another interesting case study to look at would be Abdullahand Cheam’s (2011) research in finding the issues and trends in expatriationManagement, based on the opinions of Malaysian informants working in foreignsubsidiaries. Four informants from two different states of Malaysia wasinterviewed, and all of them are holding managerial position in Human ResourceDepartments by then. One of the informant commented that sometimes, expatriatestend not to return to their home country, worried about having to readapt tohome country, and benefits might be further reduced. The informant said thatthey do not view expatriates who refused to return their home country as a badthing at all, as they are a part of the company’s important assets to train futureemployees.Moreover, further explained by another informant, most of thetime expatriates are usually in managerial posts to lead a department, or agroup of subordinates. If the expatriates in the company is having highturnover rate, then the local employees would have to readapt themselves everytime when new expatriate manager comes in.
The process of readapting takestime, and it would be frustrating for the employees to cope with newexpatriates as they would need to suit themselves into different styles of management(Budianta, 2015). Suutari (1998) supports this view by saying that, adaptationto social interaction is one of the major issues faced by local employees as aresult of not being able to interpret expatriates’ views, and create contactwith expatriates.As mentioned earlier, one of the best ways to broaden one’sview and clear off stereotypical thoughts regarding certain country is byputting them into a foreign country and allow them to get used to the lifestyleover a period of time. The same could be done to prepare expatriates forinternational assignments.
Take Stephen Burke, vice president of Disney, forexample, he was sent to France to observe and inspect EuroDisney theme park backin 1993. (Black, 1999) Initially, he has got the same views and thoughts asother senior managers in America, believing that alcohol should not be madeavailable in the Disney theme parks as they are made for families. However,after several months of living in France, he found out that perhaps, thenon-alcohol policy is hindering most of its potential local consumers fromentering EuroDisney as it is a common culture that is practiced by the French tohave lunch with a glass of wine to go with. In addition, Burke also realisethat there are not enough vacation packages made available, which is preferredby many European consumers.After understanding the culture and the needs of localmarket, Burke persuade Disney’s top management to abolish the no-alcohol policy,and start selling wine at its French park.
In addition, he requests Disney tocreate more vacation packages too. Along with other changes, it turns out Burkeis right, and he succeeded in improving the sales of EuroDisney, and helpedEuroDisney to achieve its first operational profit. Burke admitted that theassignment in France has provided him an eye-opened experience which changesthe way he perceives the world.Followed by the news of the Brexit, is the issues andquestions regarding the impacts of immigrants. It was reported by Smith (2016),of Independent, that according to the Institute for Public Policy Research,there are about 55,000 EU nationals who are currently working under the NHS,and one in 10 of the UK’s registered doctors is an EU national. Immigrants havemade up a considerable amount of the NHS’s labour force.
If the immigrationrules and regulations have not carefully considerate them, taking them intoaccounts of restructuring the immigration plannings, then these immigrantsmight end up going back to their own country, and NHS would have ended up withshortage of labour, which would cause problems to the services provided by NHS.(The King’s Fund Verdict, 2015)There has always been a myth that increase of migrants would decreasethe number of job opportunities available for locals, and hence result in moreunemployment. (Schein, 2010) However, there has been studies researched on thismatter, and the outcome of the studies suggest that immigrant workers has neitherdirect impact on wages, nor unemployment of the local job seekers. (Lemos andPortes, 2008; Giplin et al., 2006; as cited in Marangozov, 2008) In addition,the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (2015) has published aresearch paper on the impacts of migrant workers on UK businesses. The researchpaper is full of examples with positive feedbacks as to migrant workers workingin the UK. One of the great examples would be the case regarding a TVProduction company in Northern Ireland, whose labour force is made up of 30 to40 per cent of migrants.
The company has got journalist and production stafffrom USA and Canada, who has got good skills and are experienced in the fields.One of the local staff stated that he has learnt a lot from colleagues who areexpatriates, as they see things from different views, and they have highresearch skills which local staffs tend not to have. Another interesting example would be the virtual effect firmbased in London, whose workforce is made up of eighty to ninety percent ofexpatriates.
The company are seeking for talents all over the world, byattending animation festivals in France and Germany, and they also fly to Chinato give talks, at the same time to recruit potential employees. The director ofthe company expressed that, the company hired people from different backgroundsand nationality because as they live in different environment, being taughtunder different style of education system, they actually own strengths incertain area that the others do not. He later gives an example regarding aJapanese employee he employed. The Japanese employee actually know histechnical skills of software very well, and undeniable, he might be the mostknowledgeable person in the field of software design among the others in thecompany. He tackled questions in different ways, which fascinate his peers, andprovided new ways as to how to solve particular problem. His solution as to theissues has saved the company a lot of time in resolving the same problem, andincreased the overall working efficiency.Virtual effect is an area that needs to be rapidly developedas technology is advancing in order to coop with new technical demands andopportunities.
It also involves high collaborative team work where employeesget to be bombarded with different questions every day. The desirable way tosolve the questions is by holding discussions between groups of employees,local and expatriates, in order to generate innovative ideas and creativebrainstorm which eventually contribute in forming the best approaches against issues.(Selmer, 1995)On the other hand, expatriates with extra language skills is ahuge asset to businesses too. It is difficult for UK businesses to find localemployees who are fluent in other languages. (Budianta, 2015) Mainly because,certain languages are not widely taught by schools. Hence, recruiting expatriateswho have exclusive language skills would be a must for businesses, especiallymultinational companies who often have to communicate with internationalclients.
(Shen and Lang, 2009) One might ask, “Why do companies recruitexpatriates with certain language skills, but not train local employees tomaster the language?” The answer is straightforward: It costs a lot to trainone local in a foreign language, needless to say training few more others toreach fluent level. (Abdullah and Cheam, 2011)Though hiring expatriates who are fluent in certain languagecould be a plus is to the business, it could also be a tradeoff if not handledcarefully. (Shen and Lang, 2009) In most of the cases, expatriates who heldhigh education qualification, and who are experienced have higher chances ofbeing hired, contributes in the success of the business, however there are twomajor considerations UK employers should always keep in mind: English languageskills, and cultural awareness dealing with local employees. (Schein, 2010)Having expatriates who owns high qualification and experiences but lack ofEnglish skills to work with local employees could cause misunderstanding, oreven conflicts at work, as the expatriates might not be able to expressthemselves clear enough in English, and both expatriates and local employeesmight have problems interpreting each other’s words.Most of the examples raised above are of current employees,so, what about those semi-permanent migrants who stayed, and leave after theirinternational assignment is done? Also, is there any chance for former migrantemployees to collaborate with their ex-employers? In the era of globalisation,these are actually legit, and possible to work on. Multinational companies havebeen very particular about maintaining relationship with their overseaspartners and customers. (Black and Gregerson, 1999) Company who intend toexpand, could do the same too. By maintaining good relationship with previousmigrant employees, businesses are actually securing a relationship that couldbe useful if they are planning to expand in the home countries of the migrantsthey are keeping in touch with.
(Department of Business Innovation and Skills,2015)Migrants are the best alternative when there is no otherlocal has got the skills in doing the job (Abdullah and Cheam, 2011).Businesses have to learn and accept how the world has changed, and follow thefootsteps of technology and globalisation. (Kamgoen and Duangkaew, 2008) Otherthan that, governments and societies should also be prepared to adjustthemselves into different environment in order to survive the everchangingworld. (Black and Gregerson, 1999) To be successful, the people within theorganisation would have to work together in reaching the same target. (Schein,2010) Throughout the examples that have been used in this essay, it is importantfor locals and expatriates to understand and respect the different in certaincultural values, to avoid misunderstanding, especially expatriates who havetaken up the managerial roles. (Suutari, 1998)Schein (2010) stated in his book, Organisational Culture and Leadership that, as globalism andinformation technology are becoming the focus in business arena, it is crucialfor leaders to learn, and try to solve these cultural challenges.
He addedthat, business owners would have to reconsider how they hope to develop theirbusiness, as there are huge differences between managing a multinationalcompany, joint ventures, and international partnerships.In general, the impacts of increasing migration betweencountries on business cultures tend to be more positive than negative. Theexamples show that, by incorporating migrants into local working environment,it generates exchange of skills and experience, and hence enhance the overallproductivity and performance of businesses. Moreover, businesses could benefitfrom migrants’ assistance when business owner is considering to expand.
Theadvises provided by migrants could enable business owner to evaluate decisionsfrom a new perspective, and hence be more prepared for the outcome ofdecisions.