principal functions are the effective selection and the appropriate preparation
of candidates. Most frequently companies select from employees within the
organization. The author argues that those managers are more related with the company’s
culture and own the required technical knowledge (Ashamalla, 1998). Corresponding to Mc Donald (1993),
corporations have recognized that managers need more than technical expertise in
order to be applicable for an international assignment. To sum up, they strive
to recruit individuals, who believe in the company’s global philosophy, who demonstrate
a global awareness and show an interest in shifting the organization into a new
millennium. Candidates should possess certain qualities: “Cultural empathy,
awareness of environmental constraints, interpersonal skills, managerial and
decision-making abilities and other crucial qualities for success overseas”
(Ashamalla, 1998). The pre-departure phase also includes
the preparation for the future assignment. Ashamalla (1998) describes that
organizations therefore should develop a briefing program, including
information regarding work- and living-related issues of the host country. As
most expatriates are accompanied by their families, organizations should also provide
them with planned strategies. Especially due to the fact that family relatives
are often more affected by the culture shock than the expatriate himself (Ashamalla, 1998).
(1998) points out that support given by the organization during the assignment generates
positive psychological effects on the expatriate and therefore increases his/
her performance. Feelings of being away from the corporate center of business
and the sense of isolation from domestic issues can arise during an assignment.
Therefore, it becomes highly important that organizations stay in contact with
their expatriates and provide them and their families with continuous support.
Corresponding to Ashamalla (1998), appropriate methods of keeping contact could
be, visits to the home country office, receiving visits of executives from the
home office and the continuous contact with departments from the headquarters,
in order to reduce the feeling of isolation. Besides formal support, the
organization can also offer a range of informal support for example activities
like connecting to peer groups and assisting the family in daily task or
construct a social network of relationships (Ashamalla, 1998).
As often the expatriation is highlighted with a more
evident importance, the repatriation is equally important (Tung, 1988). Difficulties to
adapt in a new country could also arise when re-adapting in the home country.
The repatriation phase is often neglected by human resource managers, however
evidence indicate that repatriation is not simple and repatriates may
experience both professional and personal re-entry problems (Ashamalla, 1998). The range of repatriation problems are
basically dependent on the length and location of the assignment, the age and individual
skills of the person and the top management´s approach for international assignments
(Tung, 1988). The most common problems
on repatriation are, firstly expatriation is often seen as an one-way flow process,
secondly the insufficient communication during the assignment and thirdly the expatriate
expectations towards career development are often not realized and therefore
expatriates and family relatives often experience a reverse cultural shock when
returning (Ashamalla, 1998). Here, reorientation and reintegration
programs should support employees to experience a smooth re-entry process.