The Case of the Floundering Expatriate - A Case Analysis (includes key issues and learnings)

Essay by caliphUniversity, Master's September 2006

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In an Economic Times article on the 15th of September there is a report that says that more and more expatriates and foreign corporate managers are queuing to take up Indian assignments. This is because the idea of an Indian experience from a growth and role perspective offers them a huge value addition. As an HR head says "India is a market of constant learning and provides expatriates with a foundation for a global tomorrow".

This article if taken in context with the case in question gives us the clear correlation between foreign assignments and future corporate success. A foreign assignment with all its hardship and adjustment fears is a perfect platform for future CEO's to showcase their abilities. Success in a foreign assignment is usually the trial-by-fire for corporate managers. Their success here could thus make or break their careers.


Frank Waterhouse, CEO of Argos Diesel, Europe, is a worried man.

Bert Donaldson, who arrived in Zurich a year ago to create a seamless European team--to facilitate communication among the parts suppliers that Argos has acquired over the past two years--just isn't working out. Although he has excellent credentials, both as a successful team builder at Argos International in Detroit and as a teacher in Cairo, his style seems abrasive here and he is behind schedule in implementing the team-building program. Moreover, Waterhouse is worried that Donaldson's failure will reflect badly on himself. But Waterhouse can't simply fire Donaldson. Donaldson is a smart man with a record of genuine successes in the States. If he gets fired, his career may be destroyed. Further, the CEO of Argos International thinks the world of him and is counting on Waterhouse to make this assignment work. Can Waterhouse teach Donaldson cultural awareness? Can he help him become effective in his...