“Repatriation has been the classic step-child in international HR management,” says Nancy Adler, professor of organizational behavior and cross-cultural management at McGill University, a noted researcher and author of articles and books, including most recently: Competitive Frontiers: Women Managers in a Global Economy (Blackwell Publishers, 1994) and Strategic Human Resource Management: A Global Perspective, (published in Human Resource Management in International Comparison, deGruyter, 1990).
Ideally, an employee who has served an organization as an expatriate will receive a circle of intercultural support. While the support certainly includes the “nuts and bolts” of working for a company, the intercultural support begins even before selection. An employee should receive pre-departure orientation as well as cultural orientation upon arrival. There should be language support both before leaving home country and after arriving in the host country. But the circle is left unfinished if the individual and family are not given repatriation. In some ways, this can be the most important.
Again, a pre-return orientation can prepare the expatriate about what to expect upon re-entry. Once back home, a training touches on the symptoms of re-entry culture shock, exploring how colleagues and friends are different, about how the office may have changed and how the expatriate experience has changed them and their family.
And repatriation can occur over a very long period of time…
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