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International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Emerald Article: Expatriation in the hotel industry: An exploratory study of management skills and cultural training
Gina Fe Causin, Baker Ayoun, Patrick Moreo

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To cite this document: Gina Fe Causin, Baker Ayoun, Patrick Moreo, (2011),"Expatriation in the hotel industry: An exploratory study of management skills and cultural training", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 23 Iss: 7 pp. 885 - 901
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The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at Expatriation in the hotel industry
An exploratory study of management skills and cultural training
Gina Fe Causin

Expatriation in the hotel industry 885

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

Baker Ayoun
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA, and

Patrick Moreo

Received 29 August 2010
Revised 2 December 2010
19 February 2011
2 March 2011
Accepted 9 March 2011

Food & Beverage Department, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the following expatriate issues as related to the hospitality industry, from the perspective of practitioners: the most important management skills hotel expatriates should possess, whether these skills vary by the country of origin of the expatriate and parent company, and the most effective cross-cultural training activities provided by hotel companies.
Design/methodology/approach – Data for this exploratory study was obtained from a sample of 66 respondents from lodging organizations with membership in the International Hotel and Restaurant
Association (IH & RA). Data was collected by means of self-administered, web-based surveys.
Findings – Participants in this study indicate that expatriate management skills vary in importance for hotel expatriates. The results of the analysis of variance demonstrate that the importance placed on the different expatriate management skills varies based on country of origin of both the expatriate and the parent company. Respondents and companies originating in different countries place more importance on certain expatriate management skills than others. Analyses also indicate that seven of nine cross-cultural training activities provided by the parent company are perceived to be effective for the success of an expatriate assignment.
Practical implications – This study suggests that opportunities do exist for international hotel companies to better prepare hotel expatriates for foreign assignments by integrating more effectively issues of cultural awareness into their preparation programs. Additionally, although it may appear counter-intuitive for a future expatriate to focus on the structure and processes of the home company before embarking on a foreign assignment, the results of this study suggest that such knowledge is very valuable.
Originality/value – While studies investigating expatriation management in the mainstream literature have been growing recently, only a handful of published studies have explored the issue in the hotel industry. Answers to the research questions that guided this study add to our knowledge and enhance our understanding of the issues related to expatriation management within the context of the hotel industry. The present study generated fruitful avenues, especially with regard to the issues related to the variation of management skills according to the country of origin of participants and parent company.
Keywords Hotel and catering industry, Management skills, Country of origin, Expatriates
Paper type Research paper

The need of international hotel companies for effective expatriate managers has never been more genuine. The success of foreign operations of these hotel companies depends

International Journal of
Contemporary Hospitality
Vol. 23 No. 7, 2011 pp. 885-901 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/09596111111167515



on technically competent and culturally adaptable expatriate managers (Yu and Huat,
1995). As these companies continue to be even more international in scope, the benefits of having such expatriates are numerous. For instance, expatriates running foreign operations are more likely to be familiar with the corporate culture and control systems of headquarters than are host-country managers. This results in more effective communication and coordination with the corporation (Barber and Pittaway, 2000). The use of expatriates also provides managerial talent in developing countries where there is limited local talent, and enhances the global mind-set of the organization. Expatriates are also a better option than domestic managers when short-term international visits are insufficient for successfully growing a business in the target country.
However, there is also a downside to using expatriates. Expatriate failure rates (the rate at which expatriates return prematurely from foreign assignments) have been argued to be notably high in the international hotel industry (Magnini and Honeycutt,
2003; Yu and Huat, 1995). Financially, the impact of the resulting turnover has been described as very expensive (Magnini, 2009). In addition to monetary costs, failed expatriate efforts can also lead to negative organizational outcomes such as delayed productivity, poor relationships with local nationals, negative perceptions of the company, difficulty for expatriate successors, and ineffective repatriation (Bennett et al., 2000). Failed expatriates also adversely affect important relationships with clients, local businesses, and local government officials as well (Shay and Tracey, 1997;
Mendenhall and Oddou, 1985). The lack of cultural preparedness and training was considered to be a cause of expatriate failures, yet few companies have adequate processes for selecting and training their expatriate managers (McGrath-Champ and
Yang, 2002; Porter and Tansky, 1999; Kealey and Protheroe, 1996; Tung, 1987; 1981).
Interestingly, research indicates that some companies believe that training cannot do much to resolve the various issues associated with expatriate assignments (Black and
Mendenhall, 1990). The aim of the current study is to contribute to our understanding of the issue of expatriation management within the context of the international hotel industry. Need for more research
Despite the extraordinary interest of international hotel companies in expanding their operations globally, very little is known about their management of expatriates. While studies investigating expatriation management in the mainstream literature have been growing recently, only a handful of published studies have explored the issue in the hotel industry. This dearth of hospitality expatriation research prevails despite that the few empirical studies (e.g. Magnini and Honeycutt, 2003; Feng and Pearson, 1999) conducted within the context of the hospitality industry reveal that there is a real and growing need for hospitality research which facilitates the understanding of expatriation issues in the hospitality industry.
Further, in reviewing the relevant literature, it is noticed that most studies on managing expatriates have been conducted across a variety of industries, with limited to no inclusion of the hospitality industry (see Shen and Darby, 2006; Linehan and
Scullion, 2001; Caligiuri et al., 2001; Enderwick and Hodgson, 1993). Many studies have focused on expatriates and companies originating from one country (e.g. Shen and
Darby, 2006; Enderwick and Hodgson, 1993), or expatriates of one country working in either one other country (e.g. Celaya and Swift, 2006; Selmer, 2001) or a very few

number of countries (e.g. Linehan and Scullion, 2001). A need for empirical studies that include a wider range of participants and countries is called for in the literature (Shen and Darby, 2006; Caligiuri et al., 2001). Additionally, Caligiuri et al.(2001) report that most of the cross-cultural training and experiences have been conducted with populations of international sojourners (i.e. students, peace corps volunteers), not with expatriate people. Magnini’s (2009) study on expatriate training focused exclusively on real-time training, leaving much to be learned about other types of cross-cultural training. While overcoming several of the drawbacks identified in previous empirical studies, the current study attends to this need. Given the lack of sufficient literature on international hospitality companies, a study, which sheds light on their practices in terms of the development of their international managerial cadre is warranted.
Answers to the research questions that guide this current study will expand our understanding of expatriation in the international hotel industry.
Research questions
The specifics pertaining to expatriation in the hotel industry remain inadequately investigated. While overcoming several shortcomings in previous studies, this study sought to answer three questions.
Management skills of successful expatriates
While technical skills are often used by companies when selecting managers for international assignments (Kealey and Protheroe, 1996; Tung, 1981), existing literature presents a much broader inventory of competencies and skills that are needed for successful expatriates. Heller (1980) talked about personality, broad intellectual horizons, values of cultural empathy, friendliness, patience and prudence, impeccable educational and professional credentials; all accompanied with immaculate health, creativity, and respect for peers. In another study, Dulfer (1990) proposes that international managers must be effective team players, demonstrate appropriate reflection on complex problems, find new solutions in the face of unexpected changes, display confidence in solving problems, and motivate others to cooperate. McCall and
Hollenbeck (2002) present similar but distinct competencies needed of an expatriate executive: open-minded and flexible in thought and tactics; culturally interested and sensitive; able to deal with complexity; resilient, resourceful, optimistic, and energetic; demonstrate honesty and integrity; maintain a stable personal life; and possess value-added technical or business skills.
Some studies have looked beyond skills and characteristics to explore psychological dispositions and orientations. Mendenhall and Oddou (1985) identified four dimensions that are believed to predict success in expatriation assignments:
(1) self-orientation (the qualities that strengthen the expatriate manager’s self-esteem, self-confidence and mental well-being);
(2) others-orientation (the ability to develop relationships and communicate with nationals of the host country);
(3) perceptual ability (the ability to comprehend why people of other countries behave in certain ways; being nonjudgmental and non-evaluative); and
(4) cultural toughness (how well the expatriate manager adjusts to cultures that are distant and unfamiliar).

Expatriation in the hotel industry 887



A notable tendency in the literature is to attempt to identify a universal set of competencies and skills that can be expected to apply to the majority of expatriate jobs around the world. However, it is reasonable to assume that different regions of the world and different expatriate jobs may require different emphasis on certain skills than others.
Empirical studies conducted within the context of the hotel industry, for example, have generally suggested that the emphasis placed on certain skills and competencies may not completely conform to the more generic skills proposed in general expatriation management literature. A relatively early study by Shay and Tracey (1997) indicated that “the reasons for failure and the attributes required for hotel-management success abroad appear to be particular to the industry”. The study identified the following as the most desirable attributes for expatriate hotel managers: people skills, adaptability, flexibility, and emotional maturity. Similar beliefs are shared by D’Annunzio-Green
(1997) who argued that due to the international nature of the hospitality industry, different needs for developing international managers do exist.
Feng and Pearson (1999) designed a study to identify the selection criteria and skills/areas of knowledge that are important to the success of expatriate hotel managers in China. These researchers surveyed managers belonging to two hotel companies headquartered in Hong Kong and the USA. The study concluded that adaptation skills, interpersonal relations skills, cultural stress management, knowledge of Chinese culture, and survival language were the most important skills for hotel expatriates to master in
China. Kriegl’s (2000) study used the alumni database of Cornell University’s School of
Hotel Administration to draw a sample of 100 non-US managers for her survey on most important skills for international hospitality managers. The findings indicated that these skills, in a descending order, were cultural sensitivity, interpersonal skills, managerial flexibility, adaptive leadership, international motivation, intercultural competencies, ability to work with limited resource, understanding of international business, interest, international etiquette, stress management, functional skills and technical skills.
Considering the generalizability limitations of the few hotel-related studies, the hospitality literature clearly presents a need for further understanding that is based on investigations with a wider scope, informed by hotel managers originating from and working in varied countries.
RQ1. From a practitioner’s perspective, what are the most important management skills hotel expatriates should possess?
Influences of country of origin
There is evidence that national cultures vary and that a variety of managerial practices differ by national culture. Cultural value systems, which may differ from one nation to another, influence patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting (Hofstede, 1980). These patterns affect the ways of life, philosophies, and value systems of people of a particular nation. Empirical investigations by Ayoun et al., (2010a,b) and Ayoun and
Moreo (2009) verified a presence of national cultural differences among hotel managers belonging to different countries, demonstrated in different managerial philosophies and styles when developing business strategies. Hotel managers from different cultures may view the same managerial situation in significantly different ways and behave differently in any particular situation based on their beliefs and values.
The country of origin is a variable that has been frequently explored in studies of expatriation management. For instance, in a seminal work, Tung (1981) found that

among American companies surveyed the reasons for expatriate failure were cited to be
(in descending order of importance) inability of the spouse to adjust, manager’s inability to adjust, other family reasons, manager’s personal or emotional maturity, and inability to cope with the larger overseas responsibility. Interestingly, in repeating this element of the study with the Japanese organizations, the reasons were ranked in almost exact opposite order of the American organizations. Among European organizations, the only reason for expatriate failure that respondents consistently marked was the inability of the spouse to adjust. Similar studies have been conducted with Japanese (Allen, 1988),
British (Hamill, 1989), and Australian (Dowling and Welch, 1988) expatriates. A qualitative investigation in the hospitality industry by Gannon et al. (2010) found that managers from specific nationalities were preferred and demanded for specific positions.
Similarly, the literature proposes that if expatriates originate from a country that is culturally similar to the foreign country where they will operate, they would generally be more successful in doing their work. A notable number of scholarly works in expatriation management (e.g. Black et al., 1991; Mendenhall and Oddou, 1985) support the notion that cultural distance between home and host cultures plays an influential role in expatriate success. For example, testing hypotheses based on transaction costs theory, the study by Colakoglu and Caligiuri (2008) suggests that firms rely on a greater number of parent country expatriates when they are culturally distant from the subsidiary. Several other studies, however, have shown that the relationship between country of origin of the expatriate and the host country is more complex than it is typically assumed. Empirical results by Selmer et al. (2007) call into question previous findings that substantiate the relationship between cultural distance and expatriate adjustment. Abdellatif et al. (2010) confirmed the ambiguous effect of distance (cultural and geographical) on internationalization strategies. In addition to the inconclusive results associated with influences of country of origin, an investigation into the potential influences of country of origin on the perceived importance of management skills of expatriates is warrant.
RQ2. Do the management skills perceived by hotel expatriates vary by the country of origin of the expatriate and parent company?
Cultural training
Several authors (e.g. Hutchings, 2003; Varner and Palmer, 2002) point out that one of the key aspects contributing towards achieving effectiveness of expatriates is cross-cultural training. The term “cross-cultural training” can be applied to a variety of different training courses. Each in essence aims to develop awareness between people where a common cultural framework does not exist.
In general, cross-cultural training has two parallel strands: cross-cultural awareness training and culture/country specific training. Cross-cultural awareness training deals with the manifestations of culture in the workplace and has many applications. Its main purpose is to evaluate and constructively tackle the challenges cross-cultural differences can bring to the workplace (Gliatis, 1992). Culture/country specific training is generally aimed at individuals or teams that regularly visit a foreign country or who frequently interact with overseas clients or colleagues. Such training usually focuses on areas such as values, morals, ethics, business practices, etiquette, protocol or negotiation styles with reference to one country. This better equips participants with the key skills that will help in building successful business relationships.

Expatriation in the hotel industry 889



Most scholars of expatriate training recommend similar types of training for staff
(Forster, 2000). The various types of cross-cultural training commonly discussed in literature include the following:
cross-cultural communication (communicating effectively with different people in different languages and from different cultures);
cross-cultural negotiation (etiquette of meeting, greeting, verbal and non-verbal communication, gift-giving, entertaining, building rapport, negotiation tactics, facts and statistics of negotiation);
business and culture (understanding how culture influences business relationships, practices and policies and providing strategies to using it positively);
business etiquette (understanding of the ins and outs of the target cultures for business); . cross-cultural team building (working in multi-cultural teams either in the same office or across borders);
cultural-diversity training (understanding the impact of multi-cultural diversity on both the harmony of the workplace and possible legal implications, including insights into an assignment specific religion, race or nationality); and
youth cross-cultural training (focused on children and teenagers who may be accompanying their expatriate parents abroad).
These different types of cross-cultural training allow the expatriate to target and improve specific weaknesses or gaps in their skills. An expatriate’s own cultural background greatly influences how successful he/she will perform in a foreign assignment. For example, it has been found that language barriers and cultural differences are among the highest management difficulty factors perceived by expatriate hotel professionals in
China (Yu and Huat, 1995). Therefore, self-awareness, analysis of one’s own values and their effects on behavior need to be an integral part of expatriate training both before and during the foreign assignment. Once the expatriate understands his/her own cultural orientation, he/she can better focus on relevant elements in the target or host culture and make the changes in strategy necessary to achieve organizational goals. This concept can also apply to the family of the expatriate as well, as a major component of their support network. The time and costs invested in providing expatriates and their families with such cultural awareness briefings would contribute to minimizing the risk of early returns of expatriates and the potentially more damaging cultural offense and alienation of local employees and business partners (Hutchings, 2003).
With specific regard to the hospitality industry, a study by Dewald and Self (2008) focused on cross-cultural training given to expatriate hotel managers in China to help them succeed in foreign environments. The authors interviewed three Directors of
Training and Development at three different hotel chains. Based on the interviews, it was concluded that the overall level of cross-cultural training received by expatriate hotel managers in these three hotel chains was minimal. The scope of the training generally covered such topics as the “do’s and don’ts” while abroad along with perfunctory meetings with the human resource department at the new locations.
Responding to increasing calls in literature, Magnini (2009) investigated the current state of practice of real-time training modes (sources of information and advices an expatriate can utilize to handle various situations as they arise) by hotel companies.

Among other findings, the study found that the most commonly used source of real-time training is “local nationals”; the use of CD-Rom products was found to be inversely related to the number of previous expatriate assignments; and repatriates were utilized less when expatriates were assigned to an individualistic host nations or when there was a sizable cultural distance between home and host countries.
Given the myriad of cultural training available, a difficulty faced by companies is deciding on the training program. That is, “which will be the most effective in view of the task for which the executive has been selected and the culture in which they are to operate?” (Celaya and Swift, 2006). Another complicating factor, as observed by Selmer
(2001), is that it is still not clear whether traditional pre-departure cross-cultural training can equip expatriates with the required cultural familiarity, despite the studies that have addressed the issue previously. There is limited generalizability of the findings produced by research conducted in the hospitality setting. This is mainly due to the small sample size, geographic concentration of the participating hotel chains, and scope of training activities investigated. This demonstrates that more research conducted around the world is needed to explore cultural training within the international hotel industry.
RQ3. What cross-cultural training activities that hotel companies provide are perceived by hotel expatriates to be the most effective for an expatriate assignment? Methods
Representatives of the lodging organizations who are members of the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH & RA) were identified as a source of potential expatriates in the international hotel industry. The IH&RA is an international trade association exclusively devoted to promoting and defending the interests of the hospitality industry worldwide. Organizational members of the IH&RA belong to hospitality properties as well as lodging and foodservice associations, all over the world. The representatives of these organizations are top executives, managers, directors, controllers and researchers.
The international perspective and the score of experiences of these individuals made them ideal for the purpose of the present study. For this particular study, only the representatives of the lodging properties and associations were part of the study.
At the time of this study, membership of the IH & RA included 60 hotel properties and 82 hospitality associations, located all over the world. A simple random sampling was conducted to determine which organizations are to be included in the survey.
Using a cluster sampling procedure, five clusters were identified for the associations and three clusters were identified for the lodging properties, for a total of eight clusters of organizations included in the survey.
After securing the cooperation of these organizations, an email message with an accompanying explanatory letter was sent to the contact person in the corporate offices of the eight organizations. The corporate offices then forwarded the invitation for participation to their qualified professionals. Contact persons in the lodging organizations were asked to forward the survey link to the professionals who have experience working as an expatriate at least once in their career, regardless of title or position. In doing so, the invitation to participate in the survey was limited to those

Expatriation in the hotel industry 891



who belong to lodging organizations and also have experience working as an expatriate at some point in their professional careers.
Each organization was asked to provide information about their professionals who were currently on foreign assignment or had been on expatriate hospitality assignment.
By sending the responses directly to the researchers, the anonymity and confidentiality of the participants and their responses was assured. From the eight organizations, there were a total of 200 professionals who met the criteria set for the present study. A total of
66 responses were received in the survey. Upon the request of corporate offices of the participating organizations, follow-up mailings were not possible.
Table I shows the demographic information of the respondents. The respondents’ ages varied widely, with over 20 percent representation in three of the five age brackets. Respondents who were aged between 51-60 years old made up the largest segment (30 percent), while only 9 percent of the respondents were aged from 20-30 years old. Most of the respondents were male (73 percent). An overwhelming 61 percent of the respondents were married, 27 percent have never been married, and 3 percent of the respondents were widowed. Over half (55 percent) had received a graduate degree, while those with only some college were tied for the lowest percentage (3 percent) of responses with those who had acquired some graduate school. The majority (97 percent) had previous overseas experience or they had experience working outside of their home countries prior to their present job. More respondents had six months or less experience with being an expatriate manager. Most of the respondents were either top executives (42 percent) or they were a director/manager (41 percent). There was a considerable distribution of departments represented with a significant (33 percent) amount of respondents that did not clearly fall into one of the pre-determined categories. Overall, the expatriates in this survey saw themselves as successful, with only 18 percent responding that they were either not successful (3 percent) or just somewhat successful (15 percent).
Survey instrument
Given the global spread of the potential respondents and that they can easily access the internet, data for this study were collected via a web-based survey. Compared to other methods of data collection and when surveying expatriate managers, a web-based approach, Celaya and Swift (2006) state, could also be faster and less intrusive. The survey instrument was developed by the authors, guided by the research questions and following an extended relevant review of both the mainstream and hospitality literatures. In addition to the demographic and professional characteristics of the respondents, the survey instrument measured the opinions of the participants on the most important management skills by direct single question. The respondents were provided with a list of skills and were asked to rank the most important using a scale ranging from 1 (indicating the most important, to 5 for 5th most important).
Cross-cultural training activities were measured with a single question, where respondents were asked to indicate whether their companies provided them with the various training activities. After collating the relevant variables from the literature, the initial draft was sent to academics for review and evaluation. Furthermore, the researchers interviewed two hospitality expatriates (one retired and one still active in a hotel facility in the southeastern part of the USA) to confirm the truthfulness and relevance of the information identified in the literature. Both groups of expatriates and

20-30 years old
31-40 years old
41-50 years old
51-60 years old
61 years old and above
Current marital status
Never been married
Highest educational level obtained/achieved
Some College
College Degree (hospitality undergraduate degree)
College Degree (other undergraduate degrees)
Some Graduate School
Graduate School Degree
Number of months as an expatriate executive in the host country
Less than six months
7-12 months
13-24 months
25-36 months
37-48 months
49-60 months
61 months and above
Missing/No answer
Job title
Top Executive
Department in which the respondents worked/are working
Food and beverages
General Management
Front Office
Financial control
Level of perceived success as an expatriate executive
Not successful
Somewhat successful
Extremely successful
No answer
Note: n ¼ 66


















Expatriation in the hotel industry 893

Table I.
Frequency distribution of the demographic and professional information of the respondents



academics scrutinized the survey instrument and provided insights and suggestions on the language and length of the instrument. Following their feedback, changes were made to the survey instrument.
In addition to the extensive review of the literature and deliberations with hospitality expatriates and academics, the rigor of the survey instrument was further ensured through pilot testing. A pilot study was conducted for one week among 30 subjects. Identified by the researchers based on their knowledge of their background, these subjects were or have worked as expatriates in one way or another, such as academic expatriates and I-CHRIE members. The researchers noted the comments made by the subjects, and applied them to the questionnaire before it was finalized.
These managers and educators confirmed the accuracy of the directions and reaffirmed the clarity of each statement. Additionally, these individuals were asked to review the list of statements to ensure that behaviors relevant to international success had not been inadvertently omitted. The questionnaire was slightly modified based on the result of the pilot study.
The results section is organized in three subsections, each addressing a research question relating to the management skills, the influence of country of origin, and cultural training activities. Several statistical analyses were performed to answer the research questions based on the survey responses. In addition to descriptive statistics, one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test differences in cultural training activities based on the country of origin of respondent as well as the country of origin of the parent company. Furthermore, independent samples t-tests were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the cultural training activities provided by the parent company as perceived by the respondents.
Most important management skills of the hotel expatriate
The most important management skills identified by respondents for hotel expatriate managers are listed in Table II. Ordered from the highest to lowest mean scores: grasps

Management skills

Table II.
Descriptive frequency distribution of the most important management skills that hotel expatriate executives should possess

Grasps on how all the parts of the organization fit together
Has the mental capacity to understand the overall workings of the organization and its environment
International negotiation skills
Gets along with subordinates, peers, and those at higher levels of the organization
Views the organization in a holistic manner
Understanding international marketing
Understanding international finance
Ability to work in international teams
Effectively receive ideas and information from others
Effectively convey ideas and information to others
Note: n ¼ 66

Frequency Mean

Standard deviation 44









on how all the parts of the organization fit together (mean ¼ 3.59); has the mental capacity to understand the overall workings of the organization and its environment
(mean ¼ 3.58); international negotiation skills (mean ¼ 3.44); gets along with subordinates, peers, and those at higher levels of the organization (mean ¼ 3.32); views the organization in a holistic manner (mean ¼ 3.30); understanding international marketing (mean ¼ 3.26); understanding international finance (mean ¼ 3.24); ability to work in international teams (mean ¼ 3.19); effectively receives ideas and information from others (mean ¼ 3.15); and effectively conveys ideas and information to others
(mean ¼ 3.10).

Expatriation in the hotel industry 895

Influences of country of origin of the hotel expatriate and parent company
ANOVA was employed to test differences in cross-cultural training based on the country of origin of the hotel expatriate (see Table III). The F test indicates that the importance placed on the different expatriate management skills varies based on country of origin. The variables that were statistically significant were: understanding international marketing (p ¼ 0:038); ability to work in international teams (p ¼ 0:027); grasps on how all the parts of the organization fit together (p ¼ 0:045); and views the organization in a holistic manner (p ¼ 0:004). ANOVA test was also used to examine the relationship between country of origin of the parent company and the various management skills. The results, presented in Table IV, indicate that the management skills of understanding international finance (p ¼ 0:000), international negotiation skills (p ¼ 0:002), has the mental capacity to understand the overall workings of the organization and its environment (p ¼ 0:027), and grasps on how all the parts of the organization fit together (p ¼ 0:018) vary by the respondents’ location of the parent company (i.e. Australia, China, India, the Middle East region, Switzerland, Thailand and the USA). Tukey’s HSD multiple comparisons revealed that on the item of
“understanding international finance”, companies from Australia, China, India, the
Middle East region, Switzerland, Thailand and the USA were significantly different from each other. Also on the variable of “international negotiation skills”, companies from Switzerland are significantly different than their counterparts from China, India, and the Middle East region.
Management skills
Effectively convey ideas and information to others
Effectively receive ideas and information from others
Understanding international finance
International negotiation skills
Understanding international marketing
Ability to work in international teams
Gets along with subordinates, peers, and those at higher levels of the organization
Has the mental capacity to understand the overall workings of the organization and its environment
Grasps on how all the parts of the organization fit together
Views the organization in a holistic manner
Notes: *Denotes significance at p # 0.05; n ¼ 66

Levene’s statistic





0.038 *
0.027 *






0.045 *
0.004 *

Table III.
One-way ANOVA of the relationship between management skills and the respondent’s country of origin


Table IV.
One-way ANOVA of the relationship between management skills and location of the parent company Management skills

Levene’s statistic

Effectively convey ideas and information to others
Effectively receive ideas and information from others
Understanding international finance
International negotiation skills
Understanding international marketing
Ability to work in international teams
Get along with subordinates, peers, and those at higher levels of the organization
Has the mental capacity to understand the overall workings of the organization and its environment
Grasps on how all the parts of the organization fit together
Views the organization in a holistic manner





0.000 *
0.002 *






0.027 *
0.018 *

Notes: *Denotes significance at p # 0.05; Factor variable: location of parent company (Australia,
China, India, the Middle East region, Switzerland, Thailand and USA)

Most effective cross-cultural training activities for the hotel expatriate
Table V shows the independent samples tests of the effectiveness of the cross-cultural training activities provided by the parent company. The effectiveness of the training program provided by the parent company had a four-point scale:
1 ¼ for not effective;
2 ¼ for moderately effective;
3 ¼ for effective; and
4 ¼ for extremely effective.
The t values indicate that seven of the nine cross-cultural training activities provided by the parent company were statistically significant:
cross-cultural team building, t ¼ 3:241 (p ¼ 0:002);
cross-cultural management, t ¼ 3:352 (p ¼ 0:002);
cross-cultural negotiation, t ¼ 3:639 (p ¼ 0:001);

Table V.
Independent samples tests of the effectiveness of the cultural training activities provided by the parent company

Levene’s statistic


Perceived effectiveness of the cross-cultural training activities provided by the parent company
Cross-cultural sensitivity training
Cross-cultural team building
Cross-cultural management
Cross-cultural negotiation
Cultural diversity training
Cross-cultural relocation
Youth cross-cultural training
Business & Culture
Business Etiquette
Notes: *Denotes significance at p # 0.05

0.002 *
0.002 *
0.001 *
0.008 *
0.000 *
0.000 *
0.002 *


cross-cultural relocation, t ¼ 2:754 (p ¼ 0:008); youth cross-cultural training, t ¼ 4:498 (p ¼ 0:000); business and culture, t ¼ 5:086 (p ¼ 0:000); and business etiquette, t ¼ 3:241 (p ¼ 0:002).

The results showed that cross-cultural sensitivity training and cultural diversity training, with t values of 1.827 and 0.487 respectively, were not perceived to be effective. Discussion and conclusions
Participants in this study indicated that management skills vary in importance for hotel expatriate. An interesting finding is that the two highest ranked skills (grasping on how all the parts of the organization fit together; and the mental capacity to understand the overall workings of the organization and its environment) and the fourth and fifth ranked skills (getting along with subordinates, peers, and those at higher levels of the organization; and viewing the organization in a holistic manner) relate to the expatriate’s ability to understand and communicate back to the home organization. Although there exists some literature that has found the benefits of organizational support for expatriates (Avril and Magnini, 2007), it would perhaps appear counter-intuitive for a future expatriate worker to focus on the structure and processes of the home company before embarking on a foreign assignment. However, the results of this study suggest that such knowledge is very valuable.
The third, sixth, seventh, and eighth ranked skills (international negotiation skills; understanding international marketing; understanding international finance; and the ability to work in international teams respectively) are those that are more oriented toward facilitating intercultural contact and foreign operations. The balancing of expatriate work skills presented by this study is similar to the cultural balancing as studied by Tung (1987), in that the most popular method for acculturation was to take elements from both the home culture and the host culture to operate effectively. On a similar note, soon-to-be expatriate managers should not neglect the development of their ability to work effectively with their home corporation.
Perceived importance of management skills varied by the hotel expatriate’s country of origin. The items that were statistically significant included: understanding international marketing; ability to work in international teams; grasping on how all the parts of the organization fit together; and viewing the organization in a holistic manner. This is in line with the results obtained by Feng and Pearson (1999) who found that hotel expatriates, and their spouses, originating from Asian countries tended to experience fewer adaptability difficulties while in China than their European counterparts. Asian hotel expatriates were found to attach relatively more importance to human relations skills. The importance given to different management skills also varied according to the location of the parent company, which could also suggest that there is a difference on the development of different management skills of managers based on the location of the parent company as well. Hotel companies originating in
Australia, China, India, the Middle East region, Switzerland, Thailand and the USA differed on the extent of emphasis they place on the skills of: understanding international finance, international negotiation skills, understanding the overall workings of the organization and its environment, and how all the parts of the

Expatriation in the hotel industry 897



organization fit together. This suggests that parent companies value their own organizational culture and they want their foreign branch companies to adhere to this.
Cultural training activities that the parent company provided were found to be exceedingly effective for the success of an expatriate assignment. In summary, out of nine cultural training activities provided by the parent company, seven were perceived to be effective and two were perceived to be ineffective. The seven effective cross-cultural training activities provided by the company were:
(1) cross-cultural team building;
(2) cross-cultural management;
(3) cross-cultural negotiation;
(4) cross-cultural relocation;
(5) youth cross-cultural training;
(6) business and culture; and
(7) business etiquette.
The two cross-cultural training activities that were ineffective were: cross-cultural sensitivity training; and cultural diversity training. This is contrary to the findings of
Kriegl (2000), who found that cultural sensitivity was the highest ranked skill by hospitality managers in her study. However, the ineffectiveness of these two cross-cultural training activities may have been caused by the inability of the organizations that employed the respondents to encourage them to participate in such training. Another reason could be the content of the training program may not be interesting and interactive, or managers may have perceived the training as redundant when considered with cross-cultural team building, cross-cultural management, and international business and culture training. A practical implication of these findings is that opportunities do exist to better prepare hotel expatriates for foreign assignments by integrating more effectively issues of cultural awareness into their preparation programs. In conclusion, the participants in this survey perceived the management skills of hotel expatriate more or less similarly. It can be stated fairly that they agree as what are the “right” management skills that are important for hotel expatriates to master.
However, differences in perceived emphasis on management skills of a hotel expatriate are seen more clearly when considering the country of origin of the expatriates and their parent companies. Respondents from different countries place more importance on certain expatriate management skills than others. Furthermore, the findings of this study suggest that, at least for the companies and organizations represented in this sample, the hotel industry provides good coverage of cultural training activities. This confirms the tendency among international hospitality businesses, as reported by
D’Annunzio-Green (1997), to place a high priority on developing managers for international postings. Hotel expatriates are responding positively to exposure to cultural training that is offered by their companies and perceive these activities as valuable to them in their expatriate assignments. Nevertheless, as the hotel industry continues to internationalize, more demands will be placed on the roles of expatriate hotel managers. Hotel companies will find it necessary to provide opportunities for these expatriates to acquire even wider skills and knowledge than were needed before.

Limitations and future research
The generalizability of the results of this exploratory study may be rather limited for different reasons. The accuracy of the findings relied on self-reported data, with the possible associated reporting bias. The survey instrument was restricted to a number of expatriate management skills, which are frequently mentioned in expatriation management literature. Other skills, however, could be of importance as well. The non-response bias could not be assessed in the present study because of the unavailability of an external source that can provide the relevant characteristics of hotel expatriates around the world for comparing the characteristics of respondents with the non-respondents. Due to the cross-sectional character of this study, a comparison of the characteristics between the early and late respondents could not be established. Accordingly, it is possible that expatriates who responded to this survey may not be fully representative of those who did not.
This study is meant as a step toward enhancing our understanding of the issues related to expatriation management within the context of the hotel industry. The present study generated fruitful avenues, especially with regard to the issues related to the variation of management skills according to the country of origin of participants and parent company. Certainly, more research needs to be undertaken. Future research needs to test the generalizability of the findings of this study. Utilizing a larger sample size, with wider representation of different countries around the world can contribute to toward this greater generalizability. Other extensions can be investigated. In particular, future studies should address underlying causes for differences in perceived importance of management skills among culturally-different hotel expatriates. For example, cultural dimensions as identified by Hofstede (1980) can be utilized in an attempt to explain such differences. Furthermore, a study that brings together data from several segments of the larger hospitality industry would greatly illuminate the magnitude of differences that may exist. Such investigation will make comparison with the present results more informing. As the hospitality industry continues to internationalize at an unprecedented rate and more expatriates become needed, research of this nature also becomes vital for effective expatriation management.
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Expatriate Managers

...good managerial teams in the new foreign subsidiary as expatriates can transfer their knowledge on how the company operates overall. In some MNE’s it is considered necessary for the senior managers to spend some time abroad to build the experience of running the company internationally so they can use that knowledge to fulfil the top corporative posts. The costs of sending expatriates abroad is high, in addition to paying expatriates salary organisations have to pay the cost of relocating the person and his/her family, pay for the house, give living allowances, special family benefits etc. Often organisations pay for the locating a job for the spouse and even pay them salary till they find a job, this is known as ‘trailing spouse’ benefits. The research show that many international assignments had failed. Traditionally a failed assignment is when the expatriate come back home before he/she is scheduled to do so. However a ‘failed’ assignment can also be defined in terms of poor quality performance & not meeting the expectations of their supervisors. Research done by Black & Gregerson (1999) show that 10%-20% of expatriates returned home before the scheduled to do so. 30% of expatriates fail to meet the expectations of their supriviours and 25% soon left their jobs after returning home. Why did so many assignments failed? The three main reseasons for the international assignemnts failer is the expatriates spouse/partner failer to adapt to the new......

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Free Essay

Expatriate Managers

...Questions: Expatriate Managers 1、What are some of the risks that an organization faces when stationing an expatriate overseas? The biggest risk I have seen for foreign multinationals as they send expats to other countries is the struggle to maintain a positive image of the company especially when on a daily basis that responsibility lies in the hands of employees and their relocating dependants. The “expat life” tends to placate a vacation mentality, a sense of entitlement and a feeling of exemption from daily rigors of the host nation lifestyle. This is especially true when most instances of expat placement happen in developing or less developed nations, and when most expat contracts allow for extra compensation and incentives to make these assignments attractive to otherwise well accomplished employees. It is very commonplace for the expat lifestyle to stir up a need for travel, sightseeing and exploring. Most expats take on these assignments as a stepping stone to seeing the world, travelling and breaking out of the monotonous routines of being in their home country. It is fairly easy to tip the scale and crossover the very fine line that exists between working arduously to achieve company goals and engaging in a state of perpetual vacation and exploration. With the current wave of backlash against multinationals, conglomerate companies, big government and big business in general, there is always the threat to expat safety in some parts of the world. The fact that the...

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