What is International Assignment?

Introduction to Internal Assignment

International assignment is the single most expensive per-person investment a company makes in globalizing its workforce. International assignments are the hub of International HR and are of great concern to many corporations who make big investments in overseas assignments.

Some examples of how international assignment managers might describe an assignment failure.

  1. Having to return an expatriate earlier than expected, which can be costly to the company and can create internal job issues, and administrative burdens.
  2. Losing an expatriate within a short time-frame after being repatriated.
  3. Performing poorly during the international assignment, which can translate into lost revenue, lost profit, and even employee turnover at the local level, which exacerbates the problem.
  4. Having to constantly go back and forth with an expatriate concerning compensation, allowances, taxes, benefits, etc.

Significance of International Assignment

International  assignments are important because:

  1. They help in Leadership Development: International assignments are a key element in developing management teams that are globally focused and globally competent. According to Duncan, “There is no substitute for the learning that occurs that occurs on an international assignments”. According to Duncan international assignments help in developing global leaders.
  2. They encourage High Levels of Coordination and Control: Expatriate assignments encourage high levels of coordination and control among business units. This is especially important when sin organization internationalizes by acquiring or creating widely dispersed production bid marketing facilities, then integrating them with the rest of the overall business. Expatriates possess knowledge about the way the overall company operates its long-term goals, and its problem –solving resources that may enable them to identify and capitalize on synergies while noting duplication of effort.
  3. Facilitates information Exchange and Dissemination: International business requires high levels of internal communication both information sharing and information exchange, because of geographical distance, cultural diversity, complex supply and demand conditions, and another similar pressures. Such information sharing is key to effective strategic and tactical decision-making. While e-mail and other technological developments facilitate interpersonal contact, global assignments provide the opportunity to work side by side and to develop relationships of collaboration and trust over an extended period of time. Such relationships do not end after the expat “returns home” The continuous exchange of rich information, particularly when people share competitive, marketplace, and technological information may enable an organization to seize opportunities and respond to respond to challenges more quickly and effectively.