International assignments result from international business needs. When businesses need experienced leaders in new markets, they often turn to assignees.
When technical workers in a support center need training, they may be sent to an established company site in a different country for a period of time. When an employee is asked to relocate to meet a short-term business requirement, he/she may opt instead to commute so as not to uproot family.
As the realm of international business grows and changes, so do the types of international assignments that support it. Twenty years ago, it was common for even the most global of companies to have one – maybe two – international assignment types. Today, a company may need four times as many. This article will serve as a primer of eleven popular assignment types: defining them, identifying the business needs they serve and illuminating their key support and policy elements. In conclusion, a list of questions is provided to assist in assessing the appropriate assignment types for emerging business needs.