Write 3-5-page answering attached instructions and case study.Complete and discuss the case study: “Expatriate Management at AstraZeneca” Page
325.
Write a 3-5-page paper answering the following questions in APA format on the
major points in the case.
What lessons can be gleaned from the experiences that occurred with the
management of expatriate employees at AstraZenece?
What could have been done better?
Use the text and any outside references, but cite all references used.
Submit your assignment as a Word document, 3-5 pages in length must have a little
page, a reference page and be written in APA style format (edition 6).
Page 325 Case Study:
“Expatriate Management at AstraZeneca”
Expatriate Management at AstraZeneca Over the years, AstraZeneca Plc
(AstraZeneca) has developed a strong reputation for its expatriate management
practices. Expatriate management at AstraZeneca went beyond tackling issues
such as compensation, housing, issues related to the spouse’s career abroad, etc.
It also took care to ensure that employees on international assignment were
able to adapt well to the new environment and achieve a work/life balance.
With the global economic situation continuing to be grim, AstraZeneca also
began placing emphasis on a “more thoughtful planning and selection process”
of candidates for international assignments.
AstraZeneca is the world’s fifth-largest pharmaceutical company by global
sales. 2 It is headquartered in London, UK and Södertälje, Sweden. For the year
2008, AstraZeneca’s revenues were US$31.6 billion and it employed around
66,000 employees. As of 2009, AstraZeneca had around 350 employees working
on international assignments in 140 countries worldwide. These were
employees who were on short-term, long-term, or commuter assignments. 3
According to Ashley Daly (Daly), senior manager of international assignments
for AstraZeneca in the U.S., the company’s employees were mainly
concentrated in Belgium, the U.S., and the UK, but they “also have a significant
presence in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions.” 4 AstraZeneca’s policy
stipulates that for any international assignment, there had to be a business
rationale. The company saw to it that the costs involved were acceptable, and
that the career management of the employee during the assignment was
consistent with personal development goals as well as business needs. The
contractual arrangements for the assignment were also centrally managed. 5
“From the outset, if there is not a clear sense of how the international
assignment experience can be applied at the end of the assignment term—at
least in broad terms—the business should strongly consider whether an
international assignment should even move forward,” 6 said Daly.
Once an assignment offer was made to a potential expat, AstraZeneca paired
them up with an international assignment manager (“IA manager”), who
briefed them on company policy and opportunities for cultural and language
training. Before leaving for their international assignment, employees were
provided training in a workshop that focused on relevant issues (such as
leaving the destination location and returning back to the home country). The
expats were given information about the culture of the destination country—
particularly differences with the home country—as well as social
considerations and do’s and don’ts. If necessary, the employee and his/her
spouse were given training in the local language. Tessi Romell (Romell),
research and development projects and HR effectiveness leader at AstraZeneca,
said that the company also helped connect new expats with those who had
already served in that location.
Sometimes, follow-up workshops were held in the host country. Once on
assignment, expats stayed in touch with their IA manager in addition to the
manager they reported back to in the home country. AstraZeneca saw to it that
expats were given the necessary flexibility required for them to achieve a
work/life balance. “AstraZeneca is really good at allowing people to manage
their own time and being aware that we are working across different time
zones. It’s always something that we try to take into consideration so we don’t
have people [taking care of work matters] in the middle of the night,” 7 said
Romell.
With AstraZeneca taking various initiatives on this front, there were few
complaints about work/life balance among the company’s expat population.
Romell attributed this to the mechanisms the company had put in place to
prepare the employees for life in a different country. “It’s a combination of
things that the company is doing and having a culture that is supportive of
work/ life balance, as well as encouraging individuals themselves to think
about their own work/life balance,” 8 she said. Experts too felt that the
practices followed by AstraZeneca, such as preparing the employees for
international assignments, providing them with support, and assigning IA
managers, were effective. They lauded AstraZeneca’s practices, which were in
contrast to those of many companies that rushed employees to foreign
assignments without adequate support. Chris Buckley, manager of
international operations for St. Louis-based Impact Group Inc., pointed out that
the expats knew that the organization was spending a lot of money on them
and they might be wary about coming up with any complaints regarding their
new assignment with their boss. In such a scenario, contact with the IA
manager was useful, as it could encourage them to open up.
With the economic situation around the globe continuing to be grim, experts
felt that organizations would be forced to take a second look at the costs
associated with international staffing. Some felt that organizations would send
fewer people on international assignments, or allot them to shorter terms
abroad. They even predicted that the high compensation and benefits generally
associated with foreign assignments could also see cuts. While AstraZeneca had
also taken measures to cut costs (specifically tax costs) by sending employees on
short-term assignments, Daly noted that this was not always possible. When
the expat had a family and was being posted for a longer term, Daly pointed
out that some of the elements of AstraZeneca’s expat packages, such as
comprehensive destination support and educational counseling for expatriate
children, played a critical role in ensuring the employee’s productivity. These
supports ensured that the expatriate family was able to settle down in the host
country. Not providing them could result in employees not being able to focus
on their new job, putting the company’s investment at risk. So, the company
was not looking at this issue in terms of expenditures alone. The company also
did not have any plans to decrease the number of its staff deployed
internationally. According to Daly, “Our recent focus has been less on reducing
numbers of international assignees and more on making the right decisions
about who goes on assignment; why they go; and perhaps most important, how
the skills and experience gained abroad will be leveraged in their next role,
post assignment.”
Case Questions 1. Critically analyze AstraZeneca’s expatriate management
practices. 2. According to the 2007 Expatriate Work/Life Balance Survey, 65
percent of expats report feeling the strain of managing the demands of work
and home, leading to more anxieties at home and at the workplace. What steps
can an organization take to mitigate this? 3. What decisions related to
expatriates can organizations take to maximize the benefits to the company
despite the ongoing economic recession? Do you think a company that paid
more careful attention to selection could further boost their chances of
success?

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