International Assignments: An Integration of Strategy, Research, and Practice

By Linda K. Stroh; J. Stewart Black et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Training: Helping People Learn
to Do the Right Things

Among the most challenging aspects of international human resource management is how to prepare international assignees to succeed abroad and once they are abroad, how to facilitate their development so that they may gain competencies as global managers. This chapter provides a framework and concrete guidelines for designing and implementing an effective training and development program for international assignees. These ideas are considered in the context of the challenge facing a fictional human resources (HR) vice president, Mel Stephens, who has to develop a training program for several employees being sent to Japan.

“I must be out of my league on this one, ” Mel thought. He had faced many challenges as vice president of human resources since arriving at Recor Engineering, but none had nagged at him so persistently. Recor Engineering, a leader in the U. S. domestic construction industry, had just sealed a joint-venture pact with one of Japan's largest construction firms, Dentsu Hogen K. K. Recol, a San Francisco-based company, and had agreed to send a large team of American experts to Osaka with a special group of Dentsu Hogen's best engineers. The Americans were to team up with their Japanese counterparts to bid on a project to expand the runway at Osaka Airport as well as related ventures.

All of Recor's engineers—a total of 18—had agreed to relocate to Japan after being assured that their families' financial positions and standards of living would not suffer as a result of the 3-year assignment. None of the engineers, most of whom were married, had indicated any reluctance on their spouses' part concerning the relocation. Nevertheless, Mel's secretary—his hidden ears in the company—had told him 3 weeks earlier that she knew of at least eight spouses who were “less than thrilled” about disrupting their children's education and relocating. Five of the spouses had also indicated that they were not pleased about having

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