Effect of Critical Factors on Expatriate Assignment Performance in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Sector

Abstract

ThankGod O. Eze and Olawumi D.Awolusi

Expatriates are indispensable in the oil and gas sector, owing to the numerous roles they play in imparting knowledge, and representing their home offices. However, these expatriates face difficulties in communication, climatic change, culture difference, short term assignments and expatriates personal characteristics. Consequently, the main objective of this project is to assess the effect of these critical factors on expatriate assignment performance in the Nigerian oil and gas sector. Survey research design was adopted. Questionnaires were used to carry out a survey. A pilot test was also performed to confirm the reliability of the instrument (questionnaire) and after that the questionnaires were given out to 150 expatriates. After data collection, the five (5) hypotheses of the study were tested using multiple regression analysis. Findings of the study reveals the validation of all tested hypotheses at 5% level of significant. From the results obtained, the study found out that expatriates on international assignment in Nigeria do face problems due to difficulty in communication, cultural differences, shortterm assignment, expatriates personal characteristics and climate change. In conclusion, the study posits that open communication helps in creating an enabling environment that reduces communication difficulty for expatriates and then improve their performance. Majority of the expatriates noted that short term assignments have no negative impacts on their performance but long term assignment will be preferred, the culture shock experienced by most expatriates is counter-productive and can be reduced via cross-cultural trainings. Age and previous work experience are two personal characteristics agreed to impact most on job performance at work in Nigerian oil and gas sector. Expatriates identified the difference in climate condition as one factor that can reduce their performance at work but agreed that the climate in Nigeria is good and encouraged expatriate performance. The implications and contributions to knowledge of this study are as follows: a validation of the theoretical framework, as well as, guidance to any expatriate coming to Nigeria. This will certainly help the human resource professionals in knowing who to delegate for expatriate assignment based on age, experience and general attitude.

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