International Human Resource Management 2




InternationalHuman Resource Management: Managing People in Global Context

Withthe every dynamic world, the advancement in technology has steered asignificant growth in the business industry. Globalization hasenabled the rise of the level of competition in the global businessindustry. International Human Resource Management attempts to exploreinternational matters that are related to management. ForOrganizations that aspire to achieve a comparative competitiveadvantage in the global market, the study of International HumanResource Management has become an essential tool in moulding humanresource. International Human Resource Management (IHRM) is regardedas the process of sourcing, allocating, as well as meritoriouslyexploiting human resources in the multinational organizations. Overthe decades, different scholars have developed different approachesin the field of IHRM. Dowling, Festing, and Engle (2013) developedthe three approaches to IHRM. In this discussion, International HumanResource Management is described by cross-culture management,comparative industrial relations, and a comparison of HRM systemsbetween various multinational firms.

Repatriationis regarded as the process where employees are returned to theirhomeland. After completion of the international assignment, employeesare relocated back home. The process would seem easier since theemployee is moving back home to a known culture. However, over thedecades many expatriates have shown difficulties in settling backhome (Dowling, Festing, &amp Engle 2013). The process ofrepatriation has exhibited adverse effects on the repatriate’sfamily and career. It is important to note that an unsuccessfulrepatriation process has negative significance to the individual andto the company itself. This paper attempts to explore thesignificance of the process of repatriation and its importance in thefield of IHRM. By designing a suitable repatriation program andpractices, this paper will focus on developing practices that supportand execute IHRM principles and deliver successful repatriationprocesses.


Forany company to succeed, it must be able to retain qualified andproductive employees within its environment. Research argues thatmost companies do not have an effective repatriation programs thatwould facilitate quality personnel skill allocation. A majority ofenterprises have implemented an ineffective repatriation processwhere they lost skilled and trusted personnel without gainingreplacement (Dowling, Festing, &amp Engle 2013). The Organizationdoes not only suffer higher costs but also the loss of key personnelwith experience and skills that support the fundamental operations ofthe enterprise. It is imperative to note that when the process ofrepatriation negatively affects the career of expatriate, otherindividuals may be reluctant to accept foreign assignments.

Establishinga Repatriation Manager

Manymultinational corporations aim at providing good repatriationprocesses for its employees. However, the lack of a strategicrepatriation program tends to result in unplanned repatriationprocedures, which negatively affect the repatriates. A goodrepatriation program should start by the establishment of a managerof the repatriation process. Appointing and giving responsibility forthis process to an individual within the organization makes it bemanaged accurately. A repatriation manager is expected to keep trackof the expatriates as well as provide exceptional support. Therepatriation manager is concerned with the expatriate’s wellbeingas well as career growth within and outside the organization. Arepatriation manager will manage the process by examining andensuring that the company’s policies and guidelines are followed.It is important to note that the repatriation manager acts as acontact person between the organization and the expatriate.Therefore, the sanction of a repatriation manager allows for a betterreview and planning towards a successful repatriation process.

Aninternational assignment focuses on benefiting both the expatriateand the company. A repatriation manager is integral to ensuring thatthe processes take place with ease. In order to achieve this, it isimportant to integrate the repatriation management with theorganization’s human resource management system. This allows forbetter skill allocation of the repatriated upon arrival in his/herhomeland. Researchers have argued that expatriates should use theirearned sets of skills to develop their home. Therefore, the processof repatriation should be managed well to facilitate competent skillemployment in the home company. A repatriation manager willfacilitate prior intra-company communication that allows for betterplanning of the position and role to be played by the expatriate uponreturn home. This process will allow easier integration to the homecompany as well as put the skills of the expatriate to efficientdevelopment.

Pre-departureplan for the repatriate

Forthe purpose of addressing the challenges that may arise inrepatriation, the return program should involve the organization’spre-departure plan for the repatriate. The lack of planning by mostcompanies results in unplanned departure by repatriates, which leavesboth the expatriate and the company vulnerable to difficulties.Adequate planning is essential in facilitating good results from arepatriation process thereby making it more efficient. A goodrepatriation program will encompass factors, such as task clarity,career counselling, as well as formal policies together withguidelines for repatriation. Task clarity requires an explicitelaboration of what is expected of the expatriate upon return to hishome. High level of task clarity enables the repatriate to focusentirely on the intended mode of performance. When the repatriate isacutely aware of the tasks ahead, the individual can plan properly toachieve the expected task performance as dictated. One would arguethat task clarity facilitates a better psychological and performanceunderstanding by the repatriate of the task ahead. This allows theindividuals to be able to gauge themselves, as well as plan for whatto tackle when they get home.

Performanceexpectation and performance consideration criteria

Theorganization has the role of ensuring that before departureexpatriates go through the program of task clarity. Through thisprocess, these individuals will be able to be psychologically awareof what is expected of them and thus achieve the goals of therepatriation process. Conversely, the fact that the completion of theinternational assignment forms the start of the repatriation processcannot be ignored (Dowling, Festing, &amp Engle 2013). Thecommunication of performance expectation and the explanation ofperformance consideration criteria is, therefore, the first steptowards achieving an effective repatriation process. Good careercounselling is an important activity that supports an effectiverepatriation program. For a successful vocational guidance, it isimportant that the expatriate understands the significance of theinternational assignment to the organization. This will involveinforming the expatriate about the intended company benefits from theassignment. A proper career counselling will also include anacknowledgment of the impact of the international experience to theexpatriate. The expatriate will also be able to understand how thestay abroad will affect his/her future career. Conclusively, anexcellent career counselling program should also focus on identifyingpossible job and career opportunities available for the expatriateupon his/her return. This allows the expatriate to bepsychologically prepared for the positions offered at home whenhe/she arrives from the international assignment. It is important tonote that career counselling allows the expatriate to understand theimportance of the international assignment. By learning the impact ofthe assignment on future careers, the expatriate will be able to planproperly and evade confusion.

Policiesand guidelines

Researchhas argued that for an effective repatriation process, it isimportant that the organization develops policies and guidelines thatdescribe the process involved in pre-visit, visit, and post-visitsituations. The term visit describes the period during theinternational assignment, while the term post-visit describes therepatriation process. These guidelines would help to improve theawareness of the expatriates regarding the performance and mode ofbehaviour expected from them during the identified periods. Thesepolicies and directives are also sufficient in preparing expatriatesto the different stages involved in the international assignment(Dowling, Festing, &amp Engle 2013). Policies and guidelines dictatethe expected performance by each and every expatriate pursuing aninternational assignment. Such policies allow the expatriate to planproperly for the future career as well as facilitate good performancefor the international organizations.

Communicationbetween an expatriate and the home company forms a critical part ofthe program. During the international assignment, organizations havebeen encouraged to foster communication between expatriates and thehome companies. Being far away from home and under the impression ofthe assignment’s short period of stay may make the expatriate feelinsecure and isolated. It is, therefore, important for therepatriation program to include facilitation of communication betweenthe expatriates and their home company for a better process. In orderto increase the aspect of connectivity to the expatriates, theorganization should develop a method of support from the home companyduring the assignment. Good communication activities may include theexchange of work-related information between the expatriate and thehome company among others. This mode of communication helps to createrealistic expectations where the organization is able to ease theprocess of repatriation of the individual. On the other hand,activities involving frequent communication between the expatriateand the home company will create a feeling of connection by theexpatriate to his home company. Conversely, the expatriate shouldalso practice frequent visits to the home business, which willimprove the social network connection between the expatriate and thehome company. Regular communication is said to improve the morals aswell as motivate the expatriates. The interaction between the homecompany and the expatriate facilitates a better conduct from theexpatriate due to awareness of the company’s expectations.

Theprocess of managing repatriation has been deemed as challenging aswell as difficult. Some scholars have argued that the process ofmoving overseas may be easier than the process of returning home.Expatriates are prone to experience difficulty in settling back homedue to reverse culture shock. Because of the years spent abroad, anexpatriate is likely to have difficulties adapting to the new changesfound within his/her home country. The expatriates may also find itdifficult to get back to the office or factory they used to work aswell as integrate into their culture. In order to address reverseculture shock, an expatriate needs to have a sponsor within the homecompany. A sponsor, in this case, is regarded as an individual who isconcerned with the successful completion of the assignment and theoverall career growth of the expatriate. Such a person serves as asupporter to the expatriate in identifying suitable positions for himin the home company. The person is critical because he/she helps theexpatriate settle thereby making the repatriation process simpler.


Inconclusion, repatriation is necessary for a number of reasons asearlier outlined in this text. It forms a critical trigger toglobalization and development and thus the need to design a programconsistent with the IHRM. While the process is deemed challenging,activities such as counselling, communication, and understanding ofthe international assignment remain essential to a successfulrepatriation.


Dowling, P. J., Festing, M.,&amp Engle,Sr, AD 2013, International human resourcemanagement, 6th edn, Cengage Learning EMEA, Hampshir