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CIMIC Group Case Study On International And Comparative HRM



  1. Conduct an interview with an expatriate.
  2. Identify and analyse three international HRM issues for the expatriate.
  3. Critically evaluate the three IHRM issues involved with this specific expatriate.
  4. Make recommendations as to how the organisation can address issues raised.
  5. A Research Report is required.

What are you aiming for?

In Assessment 2 you will be conducting an exploratory in-depth interview with an expatriate to learn something new about the person’s work experience, rather than testing something that is known. In essence, it is a conversation with an individual who can give you information about an organisation’s international human resource management practices.

Identify and analyse three international HRM areas faced by the expatriate when working in another country. Possible topic areas can be drawn from the prescribed textbook such as the recruitment and selection process, selection criteria, training and development, culture, dual career couples, re-entry/repatriation and career issues. Compensation has not been included as a topic due to privacy and sensitivity issues.

Your participant (expatriate) can be from your workplace, or a friend or family member. They can be either a company-assigned expatriate or a self-initiated expatriate. They can be on a short-term, extended or longer-term assignment; or engaged in non-standard arrangements such as commuter, rotator, or contractual. They can be working in a giant multi-national enterprise (MNE), a small to medium-size enterprises (SME), or in a government entity, regional trade body, or charity.

Your participant must have worked or be working in another country. Participation is on a voluntary basis. It is suggested that you ask someone early and also consider an alternative interviewee should your first choice become unavailable.

Explain to your participant that information will be coded and that information is for assessment purposes only and will not be published in any form outside of the assignment paper itself. Please note that approval to conduct the research component of this assignment has been granted by the SCU Ethics Committee.

This is an exploratory qualitative piece of research. You can use semi-structured questions. Prepare your questions in advance.

The interview should have a clear purpose. The purpose is gaining the perspective of an expatriate explaining HRM principles and practices involved.

The interviewee should know in general what sorts of questions will be asked and the approximate length of the interview. The interview can be conducted face-to-face, or by telephone, Skype or WebEx. It would be useful to provide the questions beforehand so that the participant has some time to develop some planned responses.

Use your prescribed textbook as a beginning framework for the development of the questions and use additional and more recent scholarly theory to help develop your questions. You will draw on the topics of this unit and refer to the literature from the textbook, readings and your own research.

There will need to be justification of your evaluation through deep analysis of the interview data, synthesis of theory, research and good practice presented in your reading materials for this unit and any other scholarly documents you have sourced.


I) Abstract
The present CIMIC group case study is based on the Expatriate management that may be said to be one of the most important aspects that each and every organization requires to include and can be defined as the management of the employees that owns a difference in nationality than that of the home country. In the recent world, the said ambit has been highly essential and the significance of management of expatriate employees has emerged as a ‘must’ inclusive element within an organization. This CIMIC group case study provides an in-depth analysis of the various aspects of the expatriate management wherein, elements of international human resource management can be said to embed. Further, the concerned study strives to explore the various problems and issues that expatriate witnesses while placed in a foreign country in accordance with the selected company of CIMIC groups. Additionally, the concerned CIMIC group case study, owing to the inclusion of a detailed introduction that includes drafting of the aims and objectives of the study, a section comprising of review of various other literatures, in depth methodologies and appropriate findings makes this CIMIC group case study a holistic one. In a similar regard, this may be said that the concerned study have evidently strived to identify the major hindrances that affect the diverse aspects of International Human Resources and in the context of CIMIC groups this may be said that there exists a wide number of issues that have been vividly pointed out within this study. To be précised the CIMIC group can impliedly focus on the various facets of cultural equality, dual couple careers, flexible working hours and a few more ambits that would allow the same with expatriate management.

II) Introduction
There are many issues that are commonly faced by expatriates, when working in multinational organizations, owing to a sharp difference in culture and job practices in the different nationalities. The aim of the research is to investigate the issues that are usually faced by expatriates, while working in multi-national organizations as well as analyze strategies for the mitigation of those issues.

In the recent world, evaluating the current trends, this may be inevitably said that the organizations of today are striving to be recognized in the global business arena and thus requires exploring opportunities and opening up in the foreign lands (Samiee 2019). This concept and craze of globalization typically gave rise to the issues that in the recent times have been faced by expatriate employees. Now, owing to the witnessing the smooth functioning of the business processes within the overseas land, the domestic company requires to place employees of domestic nationality within the non-domestic land. Herein, the various issues such as the language barrier and similar others issues as experienced by the expatriate employees has been investigated throughout the CIMIC group case study.

The objectives for the concerned CIMIC group case study have enumerated underneath:

  • To explore the concepts of International Human resource management and Expatriates
  • To investigate the issues faced by expatriates, while working in Multinational organizations
  • To analyze the strategies that can be taken up by the companies for the effective mitigation of the issues

III) Literature Review
III.I) Concepts of International Human resource management and Expatriates
The International Human Resource Management is recognised to be the procedure that manages people in the national and international boundaries of a multinational company. This eventually comprises of the worldwide managing of individuals. This even helps in meeting the organisational objective along with achieving the competitive advantage of a company over its rivals at the national as well as international level. However, the Expatriates are the individuals in the company who resides as the immigrant temporarily or permanently in the nations rather than their own citizenship. As per the views of Wang and Varma (2019), the multinational companies indicates that the expatriate’s performance and selection management processes moderates the cultural differences with the maladjustment relationship of the expatriates and the premature return of relationship. As argued by Lin, Lu and Lin (2012), the investigation on certain multinational companies has also revealed that the companies care about their expatriate’s skills and willpower as compared to the rivals, as many companies care about us expatriates adaptability, past performance, along with the spousal adjustment. 

III.II) Issues faced by expatriates, while working in Multinational organizations
The Expatriates are those individuals who work for their company's business in the long term process along with helping them to establish its operation worldwide, enter into the international market, the transmission of knowledge and skills to the business partners. There are numerous challenges that are faced by the expatriates, during or after their stay in foreign countries, for needs related to work.

 Dual career couples: This issue discussed in the CIMIC group case study in which both the wife and husband are concerned about their career goals and lives in either place. As per the views of (Kaur 2012), there are two kinds of challenges in it with unique domain-specific antecedents like work interfering within the family and the family entering within the work. Both these issues mentioned in the context of CIMIC group case study lead to disturbance in work-life balance and thus, rob the individuals of their peace and their ability to contribute towards the company. It might also affect retention in the company in the worst cases, thus, affecting the HR department of the organization.

Re-entry/Repatriation: It is the period of great stress on the returning of the expatriates in their home country as they start to face the common issues like cultural conflict, social withdrawal, interpersonal difficulties, value confusion, stress disenchantment and more (Tahir & Egleston 2019).

Culture shock: It is a situation in which the expatriates start to feel the differences in the culture having different rituals. Thus, this is the rise of unfamiliarity with the language, local customs and the unacceptable behaviours (Fatehi & Choi 2019).

As per the argument of Dabic, González-Loureiro and Harvey (2015), the expatriates are the individuals who are open-minded in absorbing other cultures, and hiring those makes innovation in the company but it also true that they face certain problems whether in their own country or other.

III.III) Strategies took up by the organisations for the effective mitigation of the issues
Strategies to mitigate the issues need to be adopted by the organizations, especially by the HR department of the organization, for retaining the workforce and helping individuals to maintain their work-life balance.

Dual career couple: This issue can be mitigated by the couples through scheduling their look-ahead meetings and creating a time zone for both home and office. This could help them find a balance between their career as well as families (Gahlawat, Phogat & Kundu 2019). 

Repatriation: These issues discussed in the CIMIC group case study can be mitigated if the MNC’s clearly defines the career goals for the expatriate prior to the start of the overseas assignments which ensures that the goals reflect the organisation overall objectives along with creating a mentor program (Tahir & Egleston 2019). 

Cultural shock: The management should provide the opportunity for the expatriates to get acquainted within the social conduct of the contemporary environment along with mixing up with the cultural familiarity (Fatehi & Choi 2019).

As per the views of Zhu et al. (2018), it is noted in the context of CIMIC group case study the researchers have also found issues like adjustment and social performance along with the well-being of the expatriate. Thus, the management should conduct an introductory session of social gathering where the individuals could know each other and this, this helps in social performance along with their well-being. Thus, as opined by (Guttormsen 2017), the multinational companies attain the new global pattern of mobility for the global talent recruitment, along with the implication of development and training of the expatriate for increasing their numbers in this conventional linear fashion.

IV) Methodology
As per the course of the CIMIC group case study this may be said that the concerned section of methodology provides an insight regarding the various techniques and ethical aspects that constitutes a systematic approach towards achieving the mentioned objectives of the study, herein. Research philosophy may be affirmed to be the set of beliefs that are opted for while striving for the completion of a study (Ahmed 2019). There are four types of research philosophies namely, positivism, interpretivism, realism and pragmatism and the concerned diversification supports the origination triggered due to various base beliefs. Herein, for the purpose of the CIMIC group case study, the positivism would be the best suited research philosophy as the concerned study aims to facilitate primary method of data collection indulging qualitative analysis. 

The research design refers to a technique wherein, the diverse components of a research is arranged and structured in a logical manner so as to ideally face and eradicate the issues determined. For this CIMIC group case study, the appropriate research design would be exploratory research design as owing to the ideology of the same objectives of this study can be vividly explored and comprehended. The research approach refers to a specific procedure and plan that comprises of the diverse stages and steps of wider assumptions, interpretation, analysis, detailed collection of data and similar others. Herein, one participant would be interviewed that deciphers a primary technique of data collection and thus, this can be said that the same is a qualitative analysis. Therefore, owing to the requirements of the study, this can be evidently said that the deductive research approach would be adequate for the CIMIC group case study herein, as the concerned approach strives to rearrange and structure the information collected and systematic of the study in a way wherein the objectives would be met through deducting the information (Quinlan et al., 2019). 

In the context of the data collection techniques, this can be said that the CIMIC group case study would be facilitating primary method of data collection wherein qualitative analysis, that is, interview(s) would be witnessed. Further, this requires to be mentioned that the sampling techniques as followed through the entire CIMIC group case study would be non-probability techniques. However, this would be enhancing the chances of biasness which have be ignored as this can be evidently said that the participant chose would adequately and appropriately respond to the enquired questions (Kumar 2019).

V) Findings
Interview with expatriate
The expatriate selected for the interview in the CIMIC group case study has worked for the international contractor organisation CIMIC Group Limited based in Australia for 10 years. The expatriate has previously worked in the Middle East for the company for 3 years. Hence the issues relating to the IHRM can be explained effectively by the expatriate.

Question Number


Question 1

The expatriate has explained that there are a number of issues in relation to the employees that are generally faced in IHRM; however, the three major issues that are currently gaining attention are the dual career couples, repatriation or re-entry and cultural shock. According to the expatriate the problem of dual career couple generally affects the work-life balance and therefore hampers the personal life of the employees. The major effects of this issue are identified on familial, economic and social relationships and roles. As stated by the expatriate it has been identified that the stages of repatriation is not always fluent for the candidates as well as the companies. Culture shock is another big issue discussed in the CIMIC group case study that is faced by expatriates while they are shifted into a different foreign country having a totally different culture than the home country. 

Question 2

The expatriate has mentioned that performance of the familial roles have been very difficult due to the presence of dual career couples. The expatriate have also depicted that dual career couples accomplish the chance to communicate with a wide range of people in the society that helps them in gaining knowledge to broaden their outlook toward life. Majority of the employees are identified to struggle with dual career as there are greater work-life balance issues. So, in such cases, employees are more likely to refuse the opportunity to work in foreign countries or leave the job before the completion of the contract of working in the foreign branch.

Question 3

The expatriates are likely to face difficulties that arise mainly during their reintegration process in the residential or former working environment. Another major problem associated with the repatriation or re-entry of employees from other countries examined in the CIMIC group case study is that companies sometimes fail to appreciate the international experience of the employees who have returned from international branches. It is evident that although organizations possess repatriation strategies, there are lacks of effective repatriation programs. After working in the Middle East for 3 years, the expatriate has gained experience in working in different working environments and it was very difficult to adjust the functions in the native branch after repatriation. 

Question 4

As per the expatriate, it is noted herein CIMIC group case study that employees who are transferred to different countries for the purpose of work sometimes hold a distinct belief and values regarding the culture of the foreign countries. After the transfer of the employees, such employees are more likely to experience cultural shock that can be characterized by insecurity, loneliness, confusion, and disorientation. So, for IHRM, the cultural shock is a major issue and should be handled effectively by training employees regarding the culture of the foreign countries before their transfer into a specific country.

Table 1: Qualitative Analysis
(Source: Developed by Learner)

VI) Discussion
VI.I) Critical evaluation of the IHRM issues identified in the CIMIC group case study involved with this specific expatriate
Issues like social adjustment, work-life balance maintenance, cultural shock, poor repatriation strategies and adaptation of the employees in different environments are the main problems in IHRM. However, the interview has revealed three major problems such as dual career couples, cultural shock and repatriation. According to Yang, Zhang & Sheldon (2018), dual career couples are more likely to refuse transfer to the foreign countries for an extended for an extended period of time because of the inability to maintain a balance between work and life. IHRM of organisations is such cases fail to offer certain benefits to the expatriates so that their needs can be fulfilled. 

VI.II) Dual career couples
Dual career couples, as defined by Chris Brewster et al. (2014), are the families within which both the male and the female strives for pursuing a career and also simultaneously continues a family life together. This thereby can be said to be a difficult aspect to acknowledge and the same view is supported by the participant of the interview. Further, the readings used to develop this CIMIC group case study mentions that the participant additionally placed a view that in a dual career couple, an individual as being an expatriate may extract various added knowledge and learn new facets to deal with the issues of the life accumulative helping the same with the way of leaving.

VI.III) Re-entry/Repatriation
Supporting the fact, Kathirvel and Febiula (2016), stated that companies usually fails to incorporate with necessary repatriation programs to make the re-entry easy and flexible to adapt for the expatriates. This is therefore, evidently witnessed by CIMIC, from the interviewed expatriate. Thus, it was very demotivating factor for the expatriate that after sustaining 3 years of working experience in the Middle East, it would be difficult to suddenly adapt and evolve into the changing culture of another native branch without effective supportive programs.

VI.IV) Culture shock
As per the views of Chiang et al. (2018), reverse culture shock is determined as the major challenges that are faced by expatriates and its families. From the information rendered from an expatriate of CIMIC, from its experience is that company usually fails to appreciate and embrace the international experiences which ultimately leads to demotivates the employees while making it difficult for them to adapt necessary cultural along with organizational changes. From the views of interviewed expatriate, necessary social functions like peer monitoring, cultural and social functions motivates expatriates while generating morale and values within them towards the company. As opined by (???????? 2017), companies must organize an introductive event in which all the new members of the company along with the family can observe values, culture and ethics that are followed by the company. This as per the view of interviewed expatriate would help them to understand the working ethics and environment.

VII) Conclusion
From the above discussion on the CIMIC group case study, diverse issues (dual career couple, repatriation and culture shock) that are faced by expatriates in sustaining success and job satisfaction in their professional career has been discussed in the CIMIC group case study. To support all the facts, qualitative analysis of one of the expatriates from the company CIMIC, transferred to the Middle East under the primary methods of collecting data has been considered. Thus, from the above discussion done within this CIMIC group case study it can be determined that the HRM system of multinational company plays a vital role in helping expatriates to overcome discussed issues faced by them in professional careers. Identified issues after interviewing an expatriates like culture shock, repatriation and dual career couples are major that leads to demotivate the employees in sustaining job satisfaction. This hinders the multinational organizations to explore innovative and creative ideas and solutions to overcome business complementary issues which may lead to hamper the operations and functioning of the company in the global market.

VIII) Recommendations
It is essential for the international companies to overcome the business contemporary issues in relation to attract and manage expatriation with effective retention management strategies. Issues identified under culture shock are anxiety, depression along with hypertension, which makes it difficult for expatriates to manage balance between their professional and personal life. Thus, it becomes essential for IHRM department to maintain a friendly and ethical working environment along with cultural diversity and equality so that expatriates can adapt cultural and other necessary changes flexibility without facing any obstacles. The HRM department of the company can organize classes for expatriates where they can learn local languages, ensuring effective flow of communication. To overcome the arising issues obtained from the CIMIC group case study in aspects to repatriation, the IHRM of CIMIC groups are required to select the right employees with accurate technical skill to send into abroad, as the company is active in diverse business sectors starting from telecommunications to construction. 

It is essential for IHRM to establish regular contacts with its employees who are associated with the process of repatriation. For instance, the IHRM of CIMIC must put more efforts with its expatriates who are sent to the Middle East, through formal communication sources while receiving updates on its activities and cultural behaviours of the company associated in other locations. The associated issues and challenges illustrated in the CIMIC group case study to dual career couples like difficulties in showing dedication towards company's operations and functioning along with increasing stress in managing work life balance may hamper the standard and quality of company's productivity. To overcome the issues with dual career couples, CIMIC’s IHRM can render flexible working hours along with leave approval on essential cases so that they can effectively collaborate with their personal as well as professional lives. In addition, CIMIC can also look forwards to monetary and financial management for its expatriates, as this would help the transferred employees easily evolve with organizational and cultural changes. It has been evaluated from the above sections of the CIMIC group case study that most of the international companies provides safety and healthcare insurance to sustain engagement and retention of expatriates, which hence can be integrated by CIMIC.

IX) References
Ahmed, A., 2019. CIMIC group case study Multi-methodology research and democratization studies: intellectual bridges among islands of specialization. Democratization, 26(1), pp.97-139.

Chiang, F.F., van Esch, E., Birtch, T.A. & Shaffer, M.A., 2018. Repatriation: what do we know and where do we go from here. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 29(1), pp.188-226.

Chris Brewster, Jaime Bonache, Jean-Luc Cerdin & Vesa Suutari 2014, Exploring expatriate outcomes, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25:14, 1921-1937, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2013.870284

Dabic, M., González-Loureiro, M. & Harvey, M., 2015. Evolving research on expatriates: what is ‘known after four decades (1970–2012) CIMIC group case study The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26(3), pp.316-337.

Fatehi, K. & Choi, J., 2019. International Human Resource Management. In International Business Management (pp. 341-375). Springer, Cham.

Gahlawat, N., Phogat, R.S. & Kundu, S.C., 2019. Evidence for Life Satisfaction Among Dual-Career Couples: The Interplay of Job, Career, and Family Satisfaction in Relation to Workplace Support. Journal of Family Issues, 40(18), pp.2893-2921.

Guttormsen, D.S., 2017. Introducing the expatriate ‘Entry-Mode’: an exploratory qualitative study of a missing link in global mobility and expatriate management research. Human Resource Development International, 20(2), pp.99-126.

Kathirvel, N. & Febiula, I.C., 2016. Understanding the aspects of cultural shock in international business arena. International Journal of Information, Business and Management, 8(2), p.105.

Kaur, G., 2012. Empirical evidences on work-life challenges and coping strategies of dual career couple. CIMIC group case study Asia Pacific Journal of Management & Entrepreneurship Research, 1(2), p.113.

Kumar, R., 2019. Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. CIMIC group case study Sage Publications Limited.

K???????, ?.?., 2017. ?????????? ???: ?????????-??????????????? ????????? ? ????? ?????????? ?????. ??????? ????????????, (5).

Lin, C.Y.Y., Lu, T.C. & Lin, H.W., 2012. A different perspective of expatriate management. Human Resource Management Review, 22(3), pp.189-207.

Quinlan, C., Babin, B., Carr, J. & Griffin, M., 2019. Business research methods. South Western Cengage.

Samiee, S., 2019. Reflections on global brands, global consumer culture and globalization. CIMIC group case study International Marketing Review.

Tahir, R. & Egleston, D., 2019. Expatriation management process. Journal of Workplace Learning.

Wang, C.H. & Varma, A., 2019. Cultural distance and expatriate failure rates: the moderating role of expatriate management practices. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 30(15), pp.2211-2230.

Yang, Y., Zhang, Y. & Sheldon, K.M., 2018. Self-determined motivation for studying abroad predicts lower culture shock and greater well-being among international students: The mediating role of basic psychological needs satisfaction. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 63, pp.95-104.

Zhu, C.J., De Cieri, H., Fan, D. & Mike Zhang, M., 2018. CIMIC group case study Expatriate management in emerging market multinational enterprises (EMNEs): reflection and future research agenda.

X) Appendix
X.I) Appendix 1: Template Letter to the participant

CIMIC group case study

School of Business and Tourism

I am a Masters student at Southern Cross University studying the unit, MNG00786 International and Comparative Human Resource Management.

One of our assignments involves interviewing a person who is or was an expatriate (either company-assigned or a self-initiated expatriate) working in a country that is not their home country. They must be over 18 years of age and be a willing participant/volunteer in this interview.

I understand that you have been/are in an expatriate work assignment and to that end I would like to invite you to participate in my small piece of research.

This project has Southern Cross University Expedited Ethics Committee Approval (ECN-18-247).

I will be asking questions about some of the following topics related to your expatriate experiences: recruitment and selection process, selection criteria, company requirements, training and development, culture, re-entry and career issues.

Your involvement would take about 40 minutes of your time in a face to face, telephone or Skype interview where you are at a place of your choosing. I will seek your permission to record the interview.

My responsibilities to you are to protect your privacy. Your name, the name of the company you work for and any other personal identifying details will not be recorded. You are assured of confidentiality and anonymity. You are free to terminate the interview at any time.

In my assignment I will analyse your interview in terms of the theory we are learning about expatriation. I can provide you with the Executive Summary of my assignment report should you wish. All students in the class will share the Executive Summaries of their reports. Names of individuals or companies will not appear in any material. Results will not be published in any other way. Please advise if you would like to receive a copy of the Executive Summary.

All inquiries should be directed to our lecturer:

Dr Melinda Muir

Southern Cross School of Business and Tourism

Southern Cross University

Southern Cross Drive
Bilinga QLD 4225


If you have concerns about the ethical conduct of this research or the researcher, the following procedure should occur. Write to the following:

The Ethics Complaints Officer

Southern Cross University

PO Box 157

Lismore NSW 2480


Yours sincerely,


X.II) Appendix 2: Participant Consent Form

CIMIC group case study

Name of researcher:XXXXXXX (Approval Number: ECN-18-247)

I,………………………………………………………………….give consent to my participation in the research project, MNG00786 International and Comparative Human Resource Management - Assignment 2: Interview with an Expatriate.In giving my consent:(Tick the box that applies, sign and date and give to the researcher)

I agree to take part in the Southern Cross University research project specified above.


I understand the information about my participation in the research project, which has been provided to me by the researcher.


I agree to be interviewed by the researcher.


I agree to participate in an in-depth interview.


I agree to allow the interview to be *audio-taped and/or *video-taped.


I agree to make myself available for follow-up interview (s) if required.


I understand that my participation is voluntary.


I understand that I can cease my participation at any time.


I understand that my participation in this research will be treated with confidentiality.


I understand that any information that may identify me will be de-identified at the time of analysis of any data.


I understand that no identifying information will be disclosed or published


I understand that all information gathered in this research will be kept confidentially for 7 years at the University.


I am aware that I can contact the researcher at any time with any queries. The researcher’s contact details are provided to me.


I understand that this research project has been approved by the SCU Human Research Ethics Committee


Participant’s name: ______________________________________________________

Participant’s signature: ____________________________________________________

Date: ________________________

Please tick this box and provide your email or mail address below if you wish to receive a summary of the results:

Email: ________________________________________________________________

X.III) Appendix 3: Qualitative Questionnaire for the CIMIC group case study
Question 1 Please state the major issues, in your views, that expatriates are likely to face, considering contexts of IHRM

  • Dual career couples
  • Reentry/Repatriation
  • Culture shock

Question 2 What are the issues in relation to maintenance of work-life balance that is mainly faced by expatriates like you, in IHRM contexts?

Question 3 What are your views regarding reentry/repatriation being a significant IHRM issue affecting expatriates?

Question 4 How far do you feel that coping with cultural values in a foreign land is a major issue often faced by expatriates, especially the ones moving into countries with distinct cultural values and beliefs?


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