Expatriates are employees who are sent by their employers to live and work in a foreign country (usually for two to three years) to accomplish a job-related goal. Multinational organizations use expatriate assignments, particularly during the initial stages of foreign operations, in order to (a) oversee subsidiary operations, (b) transfer knowledge among subsidiaries and establish a common organizational identity, and (c) fill key positions when qualified employees are not available in the local talent pools. Additionally, these assignments are used as development opportunities that help hone employees’ intercultural skills. For these reasons, it is safe to say that expatriate assignments are critical to the strategy and performance of multinational organizations.

Challenges Associated With Expatriate Assignments

However, expatriate assignments are expensive and challenging to manage. First, compared to ...

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