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The Global Work Environment

The Global Work Environment

Think of a time when you had to function in another culture. What were the major obstacles that you faced?

Working with people from another culture can be challenging because of differences in beliefs and values (Morrison, 2020). Expatriates have a hard time adapting to the work environment in a foreign country, thus affecting their performance and the organization’s overall performance. During the early years of my career, I wanted to gain experience working in a global company to improve my competitiveness in the job market because companies are currently hiring a diverse workforce. The organization I was working for was expanding its operations into the Chinese market, and I was part of the workforce that was sent to work in China. The Chinese business environment was new because I had not worked there before. One of the obstacles I faced while working in China was the language barrier. I had a hard time communicating with clients who could not speak English. This made me delay completing tasks because I had to get a translator to understand the client’s needs. Another obstacle was stereotypes from the local people in the Chinese business environment. Most of the local employees were unwilling to collaborate with expatriates because we held the top positions. They would also speak Chinese in the work environment, thus making me feel left out because I did not understand the language. Local employees also viewed expatriates as wealthy and successful, thus often requesting us to offer them financial assistance and feeling offended when they are denied the help they need.

How did you address them?

Although my employer provided support to employees to help them adjust to the new environment, I had to take some personal measures to adapt to the environment within a short time. I took online Chinese language classes to learn the language to communicate with the clients. I also took some part-time physical classes to understand the complex parts of the language and interact with other expatriates learning the language to learn the language faster and get an idea of the most important things I should know about working in the Chinese business environment. I also joined teams within the organization to enhance collaboration with local employees. I joined teams that required regular interaction to complete various tasks within the organization and participated in workplace discussions about life experiences to eliminate the view that expatriates are all wealthy and successful.

Explain how an organization might prepare an employee for a two-year expatriate assignment.

Organizations have a responsibility to prepare their employees to work in a global work environment. According to Maude (2011), the performance of expatriates is dictated by how well they are prepared to work in the worldwide business environment. The first step an organization might take to prepare an employee for a two-year expatriate assignment is pre-move training. The training should include familiarizing the expatriate with the challenges he or she may encounter when working in a foreign country and how to address the challenges. The training should also include familiarizing the expatriate with important cultural practices that could affect business operations. Expatriates should also be informed about the goals of the assignments. The expatriate should also get training on the local language for proper communication with customers and colleagues. The second step is getting immigration support. This step includes consulting about any requirements that expatriates need to meet, such as vaccinations, visas, and work permits. The third step is maintaining continuous communication with the expatriate. According to Bosson (2013), communication plays a vital role in determining any challenges an expatriate could be experiencing in the foreign business environment so that it can offer the support needed to overcome the challenges. The fourth step is providing support to expatriates. Support may include additional training on the local language and business practices. The organization may offer to counsel expatriates who may be experiencing psychological issues due to factors such as being separated from their families and stereotypes from colleagues. The fifth step is holding project alignment meetings to ensure that expatriates complete the assignment as needed.

One of the types of learning that would need to be addressed in preparation for working globally is learning business practices in a foreign country. Expatriates need to understand the most important business practices that contribute to business success in a foreign country, such as how to interact with customers, negotiation practices, and communication behaviour (Morrison, 2020). The second type of learning is language. As mentioned earlier, expatriates need to understand the language of the host country to communicate with stakeholders effectively. Another area of learning is government regulations regulating business operations in a foreign country. Legal issues affect the success of a business in a global environment because they may affect an organization’s reputation. Organizations may also incur heavy fines due to failing to adhere to government regulations in a foreign country (Morrison, 2020). Therefore, organizations expanding globally need to understand all laws related to their business operations. Another area of learning is the requirements required to do business operations in the host country. For instance, an organization needs to understand any necessary licenses to begin operating in a country’s business environment and minimum wage.

References

Bosson, Y. (2013). Going local: How to design, communicate and implement a successful expatriate localization policy. AuthorHouse.

Maude, B. (2011). Expatriate performance. Managing Cross-Cultural Communication, 145-177. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-230-34595-9_6

Morrison, J. (2020). The global business environment: Towards sustainability? Bloomsbury Publishing.

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Question 


As of 2016, the U.S. State Department estimated that there are 8.7 million Americans who live and work outside of the United States (AARO, n.d.). However, according to research conducted by Saxer (2019), this number is probably much less, possibly closer to 5.1 million. While the number of people working outside might be in dispute, one thing is clear: there are many American citizens who live and work outside of the U.S. Some “expats” choose to do so for a “multitude of reasons, be they political, economic, professional, romantic” (Bortolot, 2020). Advancements in technology and the internet have made being an expat easier. Through the use of social media, video conferencing, banking apps, and online communities, many expatriates have the ability to conduct business anywhere in the world while remaining connected to family, friends, and colleagues.

The Global Work Environment

The Global Work Environment

While working and travelling abroad is not a new concept, for some employees, becoming an expatriate can be a challenging endeavour and depending on their personality and situation, it might take a while to get settled into a new job. According to International Citizens (n.d.), expats may struggle with the language barrier and learning the ins and outs of a new culture. In addition to the challenges of a foreign housing market, expatriates can face complicated financial challenges, including international taxes and benefits. U.S. citizens are also still required to file taxes at home as well. Companies that are well prepared for the global market and global employees can take many steps to help their employees adjust to being an expat.

In this Assignment, you will reflect on your own experience with another culture and the obstacles you may have encountered. Consider how you addressed these obstacles and what steps companies could take to prepare employees for an expatriate assignment.

To complete this assignment, respond to the following bullet points in a paper that includes 3–4 pages of content, excluding title page and references:

Think of a time when you had to function in another culture.
What were the major obstacles that you faced?
How did you address them?

Explain how an organization might prepare an employee for a two-year expatriate assignment.
What steps would a company take?
What types of learning would need to be addressed in preparation for working globally?

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