The Right Way to Manage Expats

by J. Stewart Black and Hal B. Gregersen

IN TODAY’S GLOBAL ECONOMY, having a workforce that is fluent in the ways of the world isn’t a luxury. It’s a competitive necessity. No wonder nearly 80% of midsize and large companies currently send professionals abroad—and 45% plan to increase the number they have on assignment.

But international assignments don’t come cheap. On average, expatriates cost two to three times what they would in an equivalent position back home. A fully loaded expatriate package including benefits and cost-of-living adjustments costs anywhere from $300,000 to $1 million annually, probably the single largest expenditure most companies make on any one individual except for the CEO.

The fact is, ...

Get HBR's 10 Must Reads on Managing Across Cultures (with featured article "Cultural Intelligence" by P. Christopher Earley and Elaine Mosakowski) now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.