Aligning Expatriate Managers’ Expectations with Complex Global Assignments


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael Harvey, Management Department, School of Business Administration, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS 38655, USA. E-mail:


The purpose of this paper is to develop a theoretical, yet practical framework for managing unrealistic expectations of expatriate marketing managers relative to their role in complex global marketing assignments. The formation of these unrealistic expatriate marketing managers’ expectations is examined using relational contracting theory. We explore alternative HRM evaluation/support designs that can suppress the development of expatriate marketing managers’ entitlement process and thus enhance the reality of expatriate marketing managers’ expectations relative to the role in a subsidiary of the multinational enterprise.