It is essential for businesses that are sending expatriate overseas to take precautions to ensure the success of the expatriate in effectively reaching his/her assigned goals. Expatriate failure rate is very high amongst U.S. managers (50%, APG Class Session #13) for many reasons. The failure of an expatriate can be very costly and time consuming for the companies who employ them. The question that needs to be answered is why expatriates fail so frequently and what can MNC’s do to lower this failure rate and produce effective expatriate managers. Yet, another reason that companies fail when doing business overseas is the lack of emphasis placed on communication.
In all areas of the world communication is done in many different ways. In order to effectively do business in Israel we must learn and understand the diverse ways that their culture must learn and understand the diverse ways that we communicate on a business as well as a social level. If RL Furniture Company can effectively choose or train an adaptive and knowledgeable employee who understands culture and its effects on business and can accompany that along with excellent communication skills, MNC’s can directly lower the failure rate amongst expatriates.
Expatriates Expatriate Failure There are several reasons why our expatriate may fail in Israel. Expatriate failure can be very costly and can turn a possibly successful business venture into a disaster. The first reason for expatriate failure stems from adaptation problems with the physical and social environments. (Rodrigues pg. 264) This holds especially true when these environments are especially at odds with those of the expatriate’s home country. We have an advantage in sending our expat, Israelis cultural dimension similarities outweigh their differences, this will make it easier for us to understand their negotiating style before arriving. Some expatriates feel separation anxiety and isolation (culture shock) when they are working in countries with a very different social and values system than their own. (APG Class Session #13)
These situations lower the expatriate morale and affect his/her ability to do their job effectively. Differences in technical sophistication also present problems with expats. (Rodrigues pg. 265) The problems lie with conflicts in expectations and when the expat views these problems as insurmountable. Conflicts in this situation also occur in when the expatriate manager tries to apply home country managerial and organizational techniques to a culture not used to these concepts. This leads to poor implementation of strategies and goals.
Expatriate managers also find that carrying out objectives and implementing home country strategies to be very difficult decisions about policies and management style. Expatriates often deal with the conflict of operating within the constraints of the local government and satisfying the home country objectives.
Country conflicting policies and objectives present very serious problems with the decision making of expatriate managers. (Rodrigues pg. 265) Expatriate managers are responsible for carrying out orders and guidelines established by home corporate headquarters. The problems arise when the expatriate manager has local constraints placed on him and he/she must find ways to carry out the home country orders while operating under constrained conditions. The home country often does not realize or understand situations the expatriate manager must deal with and this can lead to very tough decisions for the expatriate.
Overcentralization is also a problem that may lead to expatriate failure. (Rodrigues pg. 265) If the expatriate manager’s authority is visibly constrained by Israel or by local governments than his/her authority is jeopardized and he or she loses control and credibility in the eyes of the locals.
Gender issues are not problems in many industrialized nations, such as the U.S., but in many nations, there are cultural biases against women, which prevent them from gaining the respect they need to effectively manage. (Rodrigues pg. 265) If a company mistakenly places a woman in charge of operations in a female biased country it can be viewed as disrespectful and show no care for the success OT the subsidiary. In many nations females have no power to make decision and women expats will find it difficult to lent credibility to the decision she makes. This is not the case in Israel they are a feminine culture similar to the U.S.
Yet, another reason for expat failure is the lack of companies to consider family needs when moving family overseas to a new and unfamiliar country and culture. (Rodrigues pg. 269) It is more important for ss to prepare the expats family for their journey than it is to prepare the expatriate manager. A family can easily become unhappy and this can lead to poor job performance of the expatriate manager and high levels of stress. These high levels of stress make it difficult for managers to effectively do their job and live an enjoyable life in Israel.
Communication Communications when doing business in Israel is an essential key to success. How business dealings are conveyed is very important. If translation is off or inaccurate than the success of the business venture can be seriously jeopardized. This applies not only to verbal communication, but with body language as well. (Rodrigues pg. 314) Body language in some countries is very important and the wrong body language can easily anger foreign business and steer them away from a possible business venture. In countries with language barrier companies must take measure to ensure that proper translation is used. If translation is off than it could mean that the wrong message is being conveyed.
Although English is fluent in Israel, we should print our business cards in Hebrew on one side as a sign of respect for Israeli language and way of life. In countries where the same language is spoken body language becomes important. The wrong gesture could spell disaster for an expatriate manager. In order to avoid this problem companies should train and prepare a manager by training them on culture and communications and the possible and negative impact that it can have on the success of a business venture. In Israel business moves at a slower pace than in the United States. We need to build a strong relationship with our business partner before any deal can be made.
Summary We can see that the success in a foreign business venture can depend heavily on expatriate preparation and communication skills. RL furniture Co. will be sending one expatriate to Israel to manage an overseas operation. We have discovered that there could be many problems that could lead to our expatriate failing and in turn out company’s business venture failing too. To avoid these problems we plan to set up evaluations to determine who would be the best expatriate manager we will send to Israel. Once we have found the right person for the job, we will set up an intensive training program that will prepare him/her to do their job as effectively as possible.
In this training, we will ensure the expat understands Israeli culture and how to effectively adjust to it. In understanding the culture and by developing essential communication skills we are sure that our expatriate manager will be able to carry out company goals while effectively managing operations. Key aspects in cultural dimensions of Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance, established by Geert Hofstede. (Hofstede pg. 14-17) In sending an expatriate that possesses this knowledge and know how we are sure that the venture will be a success.
Courtney from Study Moose
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