Loss of know how for the company according to stahl

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loss of know-how for the company. According to Stahl (1998, p. 2), esti- mates of the number of international assignments terminated prematurely fluctuate between 10 and 40 percent. In the case of specialists and executive staff sent on assignment to developing countries, the number of staff ter- minating their assignment even reaches 70 percent. The percentage of staff that neither fulfills their commitment to the company, nor feels at ease in the host country, nor meets the expected performance requirements is es- timated much higher. In interviews with 116 German managers sent on an international assign- ment by their companies for a period of several years to either Japan or the U. S., Stahl identified the problem areas with which the managers were con- fronted during their stay. The results are illustrated in Table 9 below. Most of these problems are chronic, that is, continual or reoccurring stress factors (cf. Stahl 1998, p. 156). Forty-eight percent of the managers report problems with personnel and leadership (e.g., different leadership preferences, accustomed leadership techniques do not apply) (q.v. Ch. II, 2.5). Eighty percent of this group rank these particular problems from se- rious to extreme (intensity ranking: 1). Forty-seven percent of the group, Siegfried Stumpf: Intercultural Management 205
in particular those whose assignment was in Japan, reported language and communication-oriented problems (e.g., information deficits due to a lack of language ability, misunderstandings due to different communication styles). A further rating concerns problems with relationship building in the host country (44%), data that is not available in sufficient quantity or quality. According to manager reports, 38% cite problems experienced by spouses as having a substantial impact (e.g., adaptation difficulties, com- Table 9: Problem areas associated with the international assignment (cf. Stahl 1998, p. 157) based on the duration of the assignment to date. The more intense the problem is, the lower the ranking. Problem areas (examples) Frequen- cy in% (N = 116) < 2 years (N = 24) 2–6 years (N = 54) 6 years (N = 38) Intensity ranking Reintegration/future (work-related, personal fear of returning, fear of the fu- ture) 65% 46% 76% 61% 5 Relations with headquar- ters (autonomy, lack of sup- port . . .) 60% 50% 61% 63% 8 Staff/leadership (personnel management, development and recruitment) 48% 50% 48% 47% 1 Language/communication (problems with understand- ing and orientation . . .) 47% 58% 54% 32% 4 Contacts in the host coun- try (lack of or unsatisfacto- ry contact . . .) 44% 46% 50% 34% 9 Working hours/workload (long working hours, dead- lines, business trips . . .) 43% 25% 56% 37% 10 Role as representative (con- flict of interest and loyal- ties, mediator role . . .) 39% 29% 35% 50% 2 Spouse (lack of employ- ment opportunity, isolation . . .) 38% 58% 44% 16% 3 Quality of life (leisure, ac- commodation, climate . . .) 35% 3% 37% 34% 7 Job description/processes (novelty of tasks, excessive demands, internal process- es . . .) 29% 33% 30% 26% 6 Business practices (relation- ship building, different business etiquette . . .) 23% 22% 22% 26% 11 206 Areas of Application: Intercultural Competence and Cooperation
munication and orientation difficulties, lack of social contact) (q.v. Ch. II,

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