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Management article
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Reference no. R1111Z
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Business Review", 2011

Abstract

When Ana Lobato was transferred from Streuvels Chemicals' Brazilian operations to the company's Brussels headquarters, she was eager to apply her considerable expertise in this foreign assignment and to expose her children to another culture. Her husband, Oswald, a doctor, seemed up for the adventure. But just over a year after their arrival in Brussels, Oswald is increasingly unhappy. He is not able to practice medicine in Belgium, and the research position that Ana's company helped him find is not all he hoped it would be. Anton Danois, the head of Streuvels's international mobility program, fears that Oswald's unhappiness will prompt Ana to consider moving back home to Brazil before the end of her assignment. In fact, Anton, who's been in HR only a few years, wonders about the logic of an international mobility program that is expensive, does not necessarily provide clear-cut returns, and poses problems not just for spouses but also for the employees who need to be reintegrated after their stints abroad. Experts John Bollman and Ann Judge comment on this fictional case study.

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Abstract

When Ana Lobato was transferred from Streuvels Chemicals' Brazilian operations to the company's Brussels headquarters, she was eager to apply her considerable expertise in this foreign assignment and to expose her children to another culture. Her husband, Oswald, a doctor, seemed up for the adventure. But just over a year after their arrival in Brussels, Oswald is increasingly unhappy. He is not able to practice medicine in Belgium, and the research position that Ana's company helped him find is not all he hoped it would be. Anton Danois, the head of Streuvels's international mobility program, fears that Oswald's unhappiness will prompt Ana to consider moving back home to Brazil before the end of her assignment. In fact, Anton, who's been in HR only a few years, wonders about the logic of an international mobility program that is expensive, does not necessarily provide clear-cut returns, and poses problems not just for spouses but also for the employees who need to be reintegrated after their stints abroad. Experts John Bollman and Ann Judge comment on this fictional case study.

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