Expatriate and alternative work assignments in the Oil IndustryEmpirical findings from Great Britain, Austria, Libya and Australia


Type Research Project

Duration May 20, 2005 - Oct. 31, 2007

  • Personnel Management AE (Former organization)

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  • Mayerhofer, Helene (Former researcher) Project Head
 

Abstract (German)

International, and multi-business companies in the petrol sector are faced with volatile, unpredictable business environments which require flexibility and immediacy in accessing required human resource skills. Both corporate/headquarter and global operational staff need to be flexible and one option for achieving this is through different, very innovative forms of international staffing and assignment patterns. The industry has been innovative in using not only expatriate assignments which involve relocation of staff but also alternative forms of assignment such as rotation, (when staff spend regular periods of about 28 days on and off the oilfields,) and flexpatriate, (when staff work in different projects, in different countries on a short-term basis, without relocation of family). The term flexpatriate assignment is used because it does not lead to confusion with airline frequent flyer programmes and because it captures the key aspect of flexibility.

Despite the growing use of alternative forms of international staffing practices, the focus of HRM activities is often still on the traditional long-term assignments, namely of expatriates. HRM practices are developed for expatriates in selection, in preparation, training, support, repatriation, family and private questions. But there is almost no HRM involvement in short term and flexpatriate assignments. To gain the best results from using different forms of assignments, it is necessary to explore the different forms more in detail and identify their implications for the organisation and employees in terms of performance, costs, effects of knowledge sharing, commitment, motivation, and health, for instance.

This study aims to fill gaps in Human Resource Management understanding of these issues.


Abstract (English)

International, and multi-business companies in the petrol sector are faced with volatile, unpredictable business environments which require flexibility and immediacy in accessing required human resource skills. Both corporate/headquarter and global operational staff need to be flexible and one option for achieving this is through different, very innovative forms of international staffing and assignment patterns. The industry has been innovative in using not only expatriate assignments which involve relocation of staff but also alternative forms of assignment such as rotation, (when staff spend regular periods of about 28 days on and off the oilfields,) and flexpatriate, (when staff work in different projects, in different countries on a short-term basis, without relocation of family). The term flexpatriate assignment is used because it does not lead to confusion with airline frequent flyer programmes and because it captures the key aspect of flexibility.

Despite the growing use of alternative forms of international staffing practices, the focus of HRM activities is often still on the traditional long-term assignments, namely of expatriates. HRM practices are developed for expatriates in selection, in preparation, training, support, repatriation, family and private questions. But there is almost no HRM involvement in short term and flexpatriate assignments. To gain the best results from using different forms of assignments, it is necessary to explore the different forms more in detail and identify their implications for the organisation and employees in terms of performance, costs, effects of knowledge sharing, commitment, motivation, and health, for instance.

This study aims to fill gaps in Human Resource Management understanding of these issues.

Partners

  • Global Centre for Education and Technology Transfer - United Kingdom
  • London Metropolitan University - United Kingdom
  • University of South Australia - Australia

Publications