Koalas in the land of the pandas: reviewing Australian expatriates’ China preparation
The unprecedented internationalization of organizations in the past two decades has made the need for cross-cultural awareness, appreciation and understanding in the daily operations of international businesses increasingly prevalent. In both academic circles and the popular press much has been written about the need for individuals to be cross-culturally sensitive, adaptive and responsive when managing across national borders. One of the key aspects identified in literature as contributing towards achieving cross-cultural sensitivity of expatriates is correct selection, pre-departure and post-arrival training and in situ support for the expatriate and his/her family. The research presented in this paper examines the selection, training and support of Australian expatriates in China, a nation that has loomed large in the current and future trading and expansion plans of many Australian corporations since it opened its doors to international commerce in the late 1970?s. Based on information gathered through semi-structured interviews conducted with expatriate Australians in Shanghai in 1999 and 2001, the results of this research indicate that, while organizations are recognizing the need to employ Australians who have prior China knowledge, organizational preparation remains negligible.
International Journal of Human Resource Management
Human Resources Management