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Case Study

Case Study

Case Study

Survey, question, read and review the information in the case study  provided. Select the key problems and issues in the case study. Read and  review the five case study questions provided.

In addition to answering the case study questions, be sure and  establish sufficient background information, relevant facts as well as  the most important issues. Be sure and demonstrate that you have  researched the problems in this case study.

In addition, each case study should be neatly typed, should use  appropriate graphics, and should be approximately 5- 7 pages in length,  not counting title page, reference page(s) or appendices. Should be  doubled-space, 12 pt font Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, and adheres  to current APA guidelines.

As you answer the five case study questions provided, be sure and  include specific and realistic solutions or changes that are needed.  Evaluate the pertinent segments of the case study. Analyze what is  working and what is not working. Support your proposed solutions with  solid and substantive evidence including information from the course  textbook, discussions and the weekly lessons presented thus far in our  course.

Assemble the specific strategies that you propose for accomplishing  the solutions. Recommend any further action that should be taken. In  essence, what should be done and who should do it and why should they do  this?

Closing the Gulf – Preparing US Executives for Assignments in Mexico

On a summer’s day in 2017, Charles Ramoz-Ramírez was chairing a  meeting of the six most senior employees of the HR consultancy he  established almost five years ago. His decision to establish the  consultancy was an extremely difficult one for him, as he held a senior,  well-paid and secure position as an HR executive within a  Multi-National Corporation (MNC) based in New York. This HR position  within the MNC involved training and developing professional executive  staff such as engineers and project managers to undertake overseas  assignments mainly in Spanish-speaking countries in South America.

At this meeting with his senior staff, Charles reminded them about  the history of the consultancy for which they now work. He reminded them  that there were two main reasons which underpinned his decision to  leave the employment of the MNC and set up the consultancy business.  First, he found himself being invited to deliver, on an increasingly  frequent basis, specialized training sessions on expatriate programs  organized by independent training organizations and even other MNCs. He  concluded from the frequency of these requests that there was a scarcity  of HR professionals who possessed genuine expertise in preparing US  executives for assignments in Mexico. Second, he did not agree with his  HR director’s view of expatriate training which was very much a case of  ‘send them and see’. That is, his HR director did not doubt that  pre-departure training for expatriates was helpful, but she did not see  it as a critical success factor. Charles’s view was that pre-departure  training of expatriates was not just helpful; he saw it as a  prerequisite for any overseas assignment no matter what its duration.  His belief in the value of pre-departure training thus became a key  operating principle of the CRR Expatriate Development consultancy  organization which he formed on the day he left the employment of the  MNC. In essence, Charles established a consultancy which aimed to design  and deliver in-house pre-departure training programs for employees of  US MNCs who would be taking up assignments in Spanish-speaking countries  in South America.

The Approach by the MNC: Problems with Employees’ Pre-departure Training

After reminding his senior staff of how the consultancy came into  being, Charles explained to them that a recent event had served to  convince him that the emphasis he placed on the training of expatriates  was fully justified. Charles informed them that he had recently been  approached by the current HR director of the MNC which had previously  employed him. (The previous HR director for whom Charles worked had  retired approximately two years ago.) The current HR director told  Charles that, over the last 12 months, the senior management of the MNC  had become increasingly concerned about the general failure of its  expatriate workforce to adjust to life in Mexico. As a result, the HR  department had commissioned an independent training needs analysis. Part  of this analysis was based on responses from 40 engineers who had  returned home in the last two years from assignments in Mexico. Charles  proceeded to inform his staff about the findings of this analysis which  were supplied to him by the HR director of the MNC.

The independent analysis provided a fascinating insight into the  pre-departure training that the 40 employees had received. Notably, only  25 of them had received any formal pre-departure training at all.  Subsequent investigations revealed no obvious explanation as to why the  remaining 15 staff had received no formal training. Further, when the  MNC’s training records were examined, they showed that the duration of  the training received by the 25 staff varied tremendously. See Table 1.

Table 1: Length of Pre-departure Training Received by the 25 Employees


1 to 5 days

6 to 10 days

11 to 15 days

More than 15 days


Number of employees





Again, organizational records offered no obvious explanation as to  why these 25 employees received training which varied so much in terms  of duration.

The training needs analysis document proceeded to report further  information about the nature of the pre-departure training received by  the group of 25 employees. The 25 employees experienced various  pre-departure training methods such as lectures and tutorials including  basic language classes, access to online material about Mexico, and  cultural awareness workshops delivered by an outside training agency.  Prior to their assignments, four of the 25 employees were offered the  opportunity to undertake seven-day field visits to Mexico. These visits  enabled them to meet colleagues already based in Mexico and to visit  organizations and places in Mexico that were linked to their  assignments. The variation in the pre-departure training received by the  25 employees made it difficult to evaluate the employees’ views about  the effectiveness of the pre-departure training they had received. Some  anecdotal evidence presented in the analysis did, however, indicate that  seven employees who accessed online training material found it to be of  little value in terms of cultural preparation for their assignments.

Finally, with an eye on future training, the 40 employees who had  returned from assignments in Mexico were asked to identify the two  biggest challenges that they had faced when working in Mexico. A summary  of their responses to this question is presented in Table 2.

Table 2: The ‘Two Biggest Challenges’ Faced by the Employees (N=40) During Their Assignments in Mexico

‘Biggest Challenge’

Number of employees citing this challenge*


Communication problems with local workers



Technical issues relating to their work



Traveling within Mexico



Health and diet issues



Accommodation issues






Safety including crime



Pressure from family in USA



Other challenges cited by only one employee



*Total number of responses is 80, that is, two responses per employee

The Implications of the Analysis

At this point of the meeting, Charles revealed to his team that, on  reading the fairly scathing independent report on pre-departure  training, the board of directors of the MNC reached the conclusion that  training for employees undertaking assignments in Mexico was a priority  issue. The members of the board decided that they wanted to bring in an  external consultancy with real expertise in this area. It was opportune  that the independent investigation into current training arrangements  had unearthed a number of documents in which Charles, during the time he  was employed by the MNC, had expressed his concern with the training  that employees were receiving to prepare them for their overseas  assignments. It was quickly established that Charles had left the MNC in  order to open a consultancy specializing in this very issue.

Charles then informed his colleagues: ‘The HR director of the MNC is  commissioning CRR Expatriate Development to design and facilitate a  ten-day long pre-departure programme for 30 engineers and project  managers who will be taking up medium-term (that is, six months to one  year) assignments in Mexico over the next year. Using the information we  already have from the independent analysis, I want us to put together  an initial draft of what this training programme should look like.’

Case Study Questions

  1. Assume that you are a member of the senior team of CRR Expatriate  Development. On the basis on the case study material and also your wider  knowledge of the subject area, highlight what you think should be  included in the content of the new ten-day pre-departure program for the  30 engineers and project managers.
  2. Having drawn up your list of the essential elements of this program,  (a) explain why you think that each element is necessary, and (b) state  how much program time you would devote to each element.
  3. Assuming that you were permitted access to the 40 employees who have  already completed their assignments in Mexico, state what further  information you would seek from them to help you to design the ten-day  pre-departure program.

Case Study Questions for Further Reflection

  1. Highlight what further information you would seek about (a) the 30  engineers and project managers, and (b) their forthcoming assignments in  Mexico, before finalizing the design and content of the pre-departure  program.
  2. Explain how you would seek to augment the content of a program, such  as the one you are proposing, with ongoing cultural training during an  expatriate’s assignment.

Reiche, B. S., Harzing, A., Tenzer, H., International Human Resource Management. [devry]. Retrieved from pp. 393-395

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