Expatriate Management : How can the expatriation process be improved

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Företagsekonomi; Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Företagsekonomi



In a global market where competition is constantly growing, organizations need to staff employees from the home country company in the subsidiaries abroad in order to create a local presence and sustain the international competition which is referred to as expatria-tion. The expatriation process requires lots of planning and training before departure and adaptation when on place and also re-adaptation of oneself when coming back to the home country. Problems that occur during the international assignment might lead to ex-patriate failure which is termination of the assignment prematurely.


The purpose of this thesis is to contribute with an understanding of problems expatriates encounter during their expatriation period and how the expatriation process can be im-proved.


A qualitative study with in-depth interviews has been carried out. Seven case studies have been conducted with seven expatriates from three different organizations, who have been working in different countries. The personnel who work with the expatriation process have also been interviewed in order to gain a better understanding about how the expatriation process is planned and supported.


The empirical findings show that the pre-departure training expatriates receive are focused on work related issues, hence cultural awareness training are often neglected. This leads to problems for the expatriates, like for example integration problems, adjustment problems for the expatriate and his/her family members, and not being able to communicate in the local language. Also the support received from the home country company are many times insufficient, and the home country companies rarely provide the expatriates with any form of repatriation program to ease their re-adjustment process. This study shows that many organizations need to improve the different parts of their expatriation process. The organizations should especially focus on developing their pre-departure training to include cultural training for both the expatriate and the spouse, and develop a sufficient repatria-tion program.

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