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Culture and the Failure of the Us Expatriate

  • Date Submitted: 03/11/2013 09:15 AM
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Culture and the Failure of the US Expatriate

US expatriates more frequently fail than succeed; this paper discusses the most common reasons for that breakdown along with competencies and training that can help avoid failure.
Reasons for failure of the U.S. expatriate managers.
“When managers take expatriates assignments abroad, they expect employees to understand the manager's culture. Sometimes…it's not possible”. (wiki answers)
Most expatriates experience mixed emotions of excitement and anxiety in their new positions as would anyone embarking on a new journey in a new country. “Many people underestimate the cultural isolation that can be experienced in a foreign country, particularly with language” (www.survivalbooks.net). They are under stress to adapt to their new environment, learn a new language and more often than not their responsibilities widen, meaning that they now   spend a lot of hours at work. “Some people find it impossible to adapt to a new life in a different culture for reasons which are many and varied. Partner dissatisfaction is the most common cause, as non-working spouses frequently find themselves without a role in the new country and sometimes with little to do other than think about what they would be doing if they were at home” (www.survivalbooks.com).
The effect of these cultural differences (also known as ‘culture shock’) in foreign countries can be overwhelming for the expatriate. Most managers are required to adapt quickly to their new surroundings and its cultures, yet most do not realize that this transformation and adaptation to a new environment and its cultures takes a long time.

Competencies that may help expatriates succeed
Some competencies that would most certainly help expatriates succeed abroad are having a more extroverted personality in addition to some life lessons/experience in a foreign environment or a culturally diverse environment. Decision makers should surely include these in their hiring process....


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