- Literature Review
As highlighted earlier, an expat is defined as an individual willing to evacuate his or her home country to another. Such expats are considered to be interested in global affairs like foreign cultures which are vital in their overseas endeavors. Regardless of the myriad of reasons as to why individuals may relocate to foreign countries, certain factors are universal regarding such relocations. First and foremost, the achievement of higher academic credentials or specialties may be the reason. On the contrary, availability of international jobs that are well-paying can be another reason. However, such individuals are required to be open-minded to ensure that they adjust to the foreign cultures (Kaplan 2017).
Another important issue in expatriation has the right attitude. Mental preparedness is vital during such relocation processes. Whether one is an expat that is competent or traditional one doesn't matter. Such is because the whole process is highly nerve taxing. However, an expatriate that is self-made is better off compared to the traditional one because they get to choose which destination they would want. By so doing, they start out more euphorically compared to traditional expats sent on a mission by their business organizations (Worman, and McCartney 2015).
- Objectives of the study
Overally, expats are considered to be able to have undergone a little bit of cross-cultural orientation before embarking onto moving to foreign countries. The whole process of immigrating to foreign countries equips expats with the ability to:
- Learn the economic, political, and cultural outlook of his or her host nation.
- Obtain awareness of the cultural outlay of the host nation.
- Be able to achieve behavioral and cognitive skills of management.
The enlisted skills enable expatriates to understand the manner in which some assumptions have the capacity to constrain success within the host culture. Choice-making and also acting on new understanding within such new countries is thus crucial. Several analyses have determined that the process of learning the host’s way of life and applying it while such expatriates are still within the country would be significant with the assurance of success in their endeavors.
This research project will, therefore:
- Examine the aspects of expatriation through the interviewing of two expatriates.
- Determine the challenges faced by Singaporean expats in foreign countries.
- Determine the challenges face by non-Singaporean expats who happen to have worked within the country for six months or more.
- Outlay a personal exposure experience with regards to issues of expatriation including cultural difference.
- Analyze and also evaluate the interviewees while applying theoretic knowledge on expatriation.
- Recommend issues to future expatriates with regards to the findings of this research activity.
Presentation of the Interviewees
With regards to the Singaporean expat, this research activity interviewed a 22-year old engineer who had worked for many engineering plants in the U.S. and currently working for the National Engineering Works of America. She interviewee is known as Tiffany Wu. Miss Tiffany Wu worked in the national engineering board of Singapore before seeking work in the United States. Tiffany has worked in the United States for five years; since 2012. According to Tiffany, it is much easier to work in the United States because the government ensures that expats are also given chances to seek for positions even though the jobs are first listed for the locals for approximately fourteen days. However, the employers in the country incorporate descriptions within such jobs that that scare off Singaporeans from applying. For instance, the expats are required to have particular qualifications that are not taught within the country itself. Concerning the personal attributes of Tiffany; she is single, a Singaporean by nation, and pursued engineering at the University of Singapore after which she was employed in the national planning board of Singapore.
The second interviewee is a non-Singaporean expat working within the country known as a hospital manager is Mr. Michael Chan from the Republic of China. Mr. Chan is 26-years of age and has worked in Singapore for more than three years; since 2014. According to Mr. Chan, most of the individuals within the country are learned. However, there are no jobs in the country. Someone with a degree will, therefore, go for a low paying job; as small as a coffee shop attendant. Most of the citizens including the youth have the desire and zeal for working in big companies. Mr. Chan, therefore, thinks that with the influx of expats and the jobs being few in the first place, several issues will arise. Another concern is that it is hard to get promotions, let alone employment. Again, Mr. Chan thinks that the Singaporeans are overworked. For instance, while the expats will work for eight hours or so, the Singaporeans continue working till or ten in the night yet they are not promoted; it is the expats that are. Concerning the personal attributes of Mr. Chan; he is married to one wife, and they have two children. He is a Chinese doctor working in the country.
- Interview Process
The research activity revolved around a very crucial step; information acquisition by conduct interviews that are effective. It is necessary to note that the manner in which the interview is conducted would determine the quality of results likely to be obtained. The process of carrying out the interview was therefore crucial before any other step. The skill of interviewing is a vital aspect of management. The preparation for the entire process was adequate. The venue for the process was identified and set at Polo Club. This prestigious club is located in the Thompson area. It is as a result of the abundant social amenity features of the club that the group identified this location as appropriate for the interview process. Also, since the amenity is located within the Thompson area, it is centrally located regarding the residing locations of the identified interviewees. Apart from the central venue, the group also identified interview questions that are competency-based. Such questions would focus on cultural issues regarding expatriation instead of being individual-based. However, the questions were intended to be behavioral and thus form the guide for the interview process. Before the interview process, the group carried out orientation activities on the manner in which the whole process would be undertaken. Such preliminary activities included drafting and rehearsing the primary questions that were designed to ensure that a good rapport is built. The questions were general and therefore not much focused on the job responsibilities. The last phase included the reviewing of the two candidates’ resumes. The review also involved the determination of the background of the candidates. The process also identifies the concerns likely to be explored from the interview.
- Key Concepts from the discussion
From the discussion, it is evident that the global economy requires a workforce which is well conversant with the manner in which business activities are carried out. The process can be termed as a competitive necessity. About eighty percent of small and large business organizations have their professionals sent abroad. This number has however soared with approximately forty-five percent of their plans conforming to the increase of those put on assignment. On the contrary, such international assignments are expensive (Ethics 2017). Averagely, the expatriates are about three times much more the value they would be in the same position in case they were in their home countries. An expatriate package that is fully loaded with cost-of-living and benefits adjustments happen to be costing about USD $300,000 but could go up to USD $1 million per year. Such can be said to be one of the largest expenditure that companies could undergo on individuals rather than the CEO. As much as the companies would be able to get returns that are anemic with regards to their expat investments, expatriates management is still expensive. The information herein is in alignment with the analysis of the interview performed. The study process also encompassed the issues that such emigrants faced when they returned home. Overally, the obtained results are alarming. First and foremost, about twenty percent of the foreign managers sent to Singapore returned to their respective native countries early due to job dissatisfaction. Some also find it difficult to adjust to the cultural atmosphere of Singapore. Also, the Singaporean managers who are sent abroad happen to stay for such short time periods. It is as a result of the inability of such Singaporean managers to meet the expectations of their foreign managers that about one-third decide to return to the country. Of all the concerns, the most striking are that about a fourth of such expats who clear their assignments with their companies opt to work for competitor companies (Worman, and McCartney 2015).
Cross-cultural theories in management
As mentioned before, one of the key factors that must be considered in expatriation is the aspect of culture. It is even more important if a manager in a given company has to deal with diverse cultures. Several cross-cultural theories of management exist. However, we shall discuss the aspect of cross-cultural management with regards to the theories of Edward T. and Mildred Hall and a bit of Geert Hofstede’s theory (Worman, and McCartney 2015). According to Edward T. and Mildred Hall, the most important factors associated with cross-cultural systems of management which are successful is the aspect of efficient cultural communication. The management of any company is required ensure that they create open avenues in which people have the ability to communicate efficientlycommunicate. Two cultural categories were then developed. The two had an immense impact on operations of businesses. One was the little context of culture while the other, high context of culture. While the strong background views that are highly established like the religious values and national attitudes and beliefs; little cultural context has it that the communication concept is identified in written records like in the United States (Kader 2017).
According to Geert Hofstede’s theory of cross-cultural management, culture is categorized into different levels with regards to several dimensions within the national level. These dimensions are masculinity-femininity, power distance, individual collectivism, short-term against long-term orientation, and avoidance of uncertainty (Kader 2017).
- Power distance
Greater power distance can be referred to as the level in which employees and society accept the fact that organizational power is unequally distributed. On the contrary, power distance that is smaller is the state where the community members and the workers conform to the fact that power happens to be fairly distributed (Kader 2017).
- Avoidance of uncertainty
With the aspect of active avoidance of risk, the level at which workers are uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity is addressed. As a result, the beliefs which promise certainty are supported while sustenance of institutions that protect conformity is also upheld. On the contrary, weak avoidance of uncertainty can be regarded as the level of relative tolerance of workers about ambiguity and autonomic needs (Kader 2017).
- Individualism against collectivism
The aspect of individualism can be regarded as the preference for a social model that is loosely knit in society. However, collectivism means the choice for a social model that is tightly knit (Kader 2017).
- Masculinity against femininity
In this context, masculinity is the preference for forcefulness, fulfillment, and materialistic success. On the contrary, femininity is the preference for relationships, modesty, and upholding care for those who are weak (Kader 2017).
Analysis and Evaluation of the Interviews
It is obvious that the two managers are both innovators Mr. Chan is, however, a reformer within the system of management. He ensures that the delivery of services is proper. To him, accessibility, affordability, and competency are important values that are expected of any worker irrespective of his or her country. Tiffany, on the other hand, is an influencer and a better team player. According to her, respect towards the employees and between themselves is vital to ensure organizational success. However, both of them accept the fact that dynamic professionalism is outstanding when it comes to working in foreign countries. She believes that when workers back-up each other, irrespective of their cultural difference, success will automatically follow. The interview process led us to one actual situation of respect between employees and also teamwork. Managers are also required to be flexible rather than being dogmatic with regards to what they believe to be better ideas. Managers need to be understanding and make adjustments to policies that already exist. Expats are required to have a pioneering spirit. With such a quality, such leaders have the ability to set up projects which are successful. Via innovation, strategic systems can be set aside to serve as models in occasions. With the discussed theories, an explanation of the concept of management with regards to leadership skills and management strategies are evidently vital (Ethical Standards 2017).
Following the issues discussed on expatriation, it is quite evident that individuals who work away from their home countries need to be very vigilant when it comes to cross-cultural issues within the workforce. Such people are required to possess an immense understanding of issues concerning foreign Ethics (Ethical Standards 2017). They have an obligation to be ethically fit and also possess skills that moral uplift other employees and also themselves so as to best manage themselves and others as well. They have to understand the international rules, formulate ways of regulating their tempers and egos. The leaders are also required to be culturally sensitive, yet, vigilant regarding issues that would undermine the vision of an organization. They must also develop a sense of emotional intelligence (Tamang 2013).
As quoted earlier in this research activity, having the right attitude is an important issue in expatriation. Mental preparedness is vital during such relocation processes. Whether one is an expat that is competent or traditional one doesn't matter. Such is because the whole process is highly nerve taxing. However, an expatriate that is self-made is better off compared to the traditional one because they get to choose which destination they would want. By so doing, they start out more euphorically compared to traditional expats sent on a mission by their business organizations (Kaplan 2017).
Management, with regards to expatriation, requires moral leadership. Instead of wanting to be followed, a moral leader is needed to be of service to others. Within the same process, managers are required to be of service to the workers as a way of developing the team’s leadership skills and also improving their self-esteem. The quality of leadership, herein, does not depend on rank. It is also evident that the global economies require workforces which are well conversant with how business activities are carried out in different states; and is known as a competitive necessity. Even though only eighty percent of small and large business organizations have their professionals sent abroad, the number has been increasing in recent times. However, such international assignments are expensive. Averagely, the expatriates are about three times much more the value they would be in the same position in case they were in their home countries.
All the five team members were required to carry out the interview process after a thorough orientation process. Each was required to have the skills of talking. The process of preparation had to be adequate with everyone ensuring that the venue was set, the individuals confirming their availability for the interview, and also setting up the required equipment for the process. The venue for the process was identified and set at Polo Club. The choice was as a result of the proper features of the club also the location; which was appropriate for the interview process. Apart from the central venue, the group also identified interview questions that are competency-based. The questions focused on expatriation issues instead of being individual-based. However, they were intended to be behavioral and thus form the guide for the interview process. The preliminary activities performed by the members included drafting and rehearsing of the introductory questions for the purpose of creating a good rapport with the interviewees. The last phase included the reviewing of the two candidates’ resumes. The review also involved the determination of the background of the candidates. The process also identifies the concerns likely to be explored from the interview.
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