Expatriate Selection

The process of expatriate selection involves screening executives to find those with the greatest inclination and highest potential for a foreign assignment. Screening can be done in terms of technical competence, adaptiveness, and leadership ability:

1. Technical competence: Technical competence (usually indicated by past performance) is a

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significant determinant of success in foreign assignments. The foreign subsidiary manager must

understand both the technical necessities of a position and also the unique conditions of foreign

environments such as scaled-down plant and equipment, varying productivity standards, and less

efficient national infrastructure

2. Adaptiveness: Three types of adaptive characteristics influence an expatriate’s success when

entering a new culture:

– Self-maintenance: An expatriate needs qualities such as personal resourcefulness because things do not always go as planned in a foreign environment

– Satisfactory relationships with host nationals: An expatriate needs to have the ability to successfully interact with new and different people (host-country nationals or locals)

– Sensitivity to host environments: An expatriate needs to effectively interpret how colleagues, customers, and competitors in the local market see events

3. Leadership ability: Leadership ability is key to an expatriate’s success since expatriates often assume a greater breadth and depth of leadership responsibility on a foreign assignment than they likely would in the home country. To be successful, an expatriate should demonstrate communication skills, motivation, self-reliance, courage, risk-taking, experience, and diplomacy.

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