Tex- Mark has expanded their operations globally. The company takes foreign employees, known as expatriates, and places them within those countries to run their engineering operations abroad. Tex Mark has developed a training program for these expatriates before their decent into international territory to ensure that they are comfortable managing human resources and implementing various programs, cross culturally, this program has failed (Dowling, Festing & Engle, Sr. 2009) Tex-Mark has had consecutive failures in expatriation processes as they did not go well in most of the cases in many countries including Mexico, wherein Tex-Mark did not treat the local and national government with enough respect and sensitivity. This resulted in several delays in the project including authorizations from the government which should have taken only couple of weeks instead took 6 months or more. There was also an expatriation problem which happened in Jaipur, India. An engineer was replaced at the last minute.
Eric Christopher (HR Director) had designed a training and development program for the engineer, including a one week visit for him and his wife. (Dowling, Festing & Engle, Sr. , 2009) This brings up the failure of training and development. Lack of pre-planning for this assignment resulted in the increase in time period of the assignment from 18 months to 3 years. This was mainly due to Fred’s inability and unwillingness to work with other local engineers and the local government in India.
There were no regulations on expatriate training programs: It was only recommended for the expatriates to undergo a training program, but this should have been mandatory. There are many factors when an engineer or an expatriate has to oversee before taking up an assignment in any region or a country. Expatriates were not really given any professional language course before moving into a specific country. This is a great concern to the company and its operations overseas. Repatriation usually involves getting back an expatriate from the assignment or project to his home country.
It does have certain effects on the employees as they have been outside their home country facing different cultures and work environment. As such, the four main issues of this case are: 1. Expectations of expatriates 2. Pre-departure and in-country training 3. Repatriation 4. The costs and use of expatriates Pre-departure training and mandatory language training should be formalized. A more strategic effort of planned mentoring and career development for expatriates will need to be put in place.
Pre-departure training will no longer bear the brunt of responsibility, but be balanced with in-country mentoring and practical assistance. Basically, the expatriate training program needs to be turned into formal policy. (Dowling, Festing & Engle, Sr. , 2009) Tex-mark’s move into China will require more strategic changes in how employees view their role in international assignments if such problems experienced by Fred Banks are to be avoided. To save money, an HCN should be assigned to take over and lead in China. This would free up Fred to return to the United States as originally promised.
In addition, HCNs usually stay longer in the role and therefore, morale may improve. Role clarification will give provide realistic assignment expectations. Training and development of HCN’s is an important factor for long term success. It helps the company to have a well-trained management staff with broad international experience (Dowling, Festing & Engle, Sr. , 2009). Since the markets are emerging and new economies are developing, it is important for the host nationals to also be trained in information and communication technologies.
Training costs will be used to train expatriates, but also to provide mentoring for local employees, thereby providing for faster, more effective assignment (taken over by locals and reducing costs). By combining the polycentric and geocentric staffing approach at Tex-mark and their foreign subsidiaries, improved financial success, increased morale and productivity can be realized.
Reference: Dowling, P. J. , Festing, M. , & Engle, Sr. , A. (2009). International Human Resource Management. (Fifth ed. , pp. 79-99,311-314). Mason, OH: South-Western CENGAGE Learning.