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Edited by Günter K. Stahl and Ingmar Björkman
15 International business travellers: a challenge for IHRM Denice E. Welch and Verner Worm On average, I would go to Asia for two weeks and come back, go to the U.S. for two weeks and come back, go to Europe for two weeks and come back. And the next time I went to Asia [I would] probably go to a diﬀerent part of it. I guess I was away – if you accumulated it – for 8 to 9 months of the year. (Senior Executive, Australian multinational) The ﬁeld of international human resource management (IHRM) has developed from its early status as an infant ﬁeld of scientiﬁc inquiry, as the contents of this Handbook indicate. When it comes to the issue of international assignments, however, there remains a dominance of interest in, and research on, the management of traditional expatriates, primarily because they comprise the bulk of international assignees (Skovbro & Worm, 2002). Expatriates have tended to be the preferred choice when faced with strategic staﬃng decisions pertaining to subsidiary operations (see, for example, Dowling & Welch, 2004). However multinationals are ﬁnding that supporting a large contingent of traditional expatriates is becoming more diﬃcult, even though the expatriate failure rate is not as high as is often reported (see, for example, Forster, 1997; Tung, 1998). It has long been recognized that expatriates are expensive. Also the rise of dual career couples has made international relocation more complicated. Therefore cost containment and staﬀ immobility are two of the main driving forces...
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