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

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

CHAPTER 10
Retaining: Utilizing the
Experienced Global Manager

In chapter 9 (this volume), we discussed the process of repatriation and ways firms can increase the chances that returning employees and their partners will make a smooth adjustment to being home. In this chapter, we shift our focus to the dynamics of organizational commitment and various factors that can affect such commitment.

A successful adjustment to living and working in the home country is critical to high-level job performance after global assignments. Likewise, organizational commitment is critical to keeping high-performing repatriates in the firm (Lazarova & Caligiuri, 2001).


GLOBAL MANAGERS AS STRATEGIC ASSETS

If a multinational firm invested between $2 million and $4 million in a piece of critical production equipment over the past 3 years, it would be hard to imagine the production manager not taking serious action if the equipment were headed out the door to a competitor's production facility; yet each year executives and managers (in whom firms have invested millions of dollars) walk out the company door after returning home from global assignments. Although less easy to quantify, the costs to the company of losing these human “assets” can be as significant as letting that piece of production equipment go out the door.

According to one study (Black & Gregersen, 1999) of more than 750 companies, 25% of managers leave their companies within a year after completing a foreign assignment. This is twice the rate for managers who have not worked abroad. This problem is not unique to U. S. companies either. As just one example, in a

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