Wal-Mart Buying Stores in Latin America

The Associated Press reported on December 14 that Wal-Mart has bought 140 stores in Brazil from a Portuguese conglomerate, adding to stores it owns in Argentina, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.  They also own a 33 percent share of a Costa Rica-based chain with stores in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.  My question is, who’s minding the store?  Or, is Wal-Mart sending Americans to supervise, manage, and train?

Most of my posts have been about things that expats need to consider when their employer or occupation takes them away from their homeland.  This one considers what an employer does when it acquires an enterprise overseas.  Using the Wal-mart acquisitions as an example: Does it hire its own international managers?  Does it send them overseas?  Does it hire managers in-country and then train them in the U.S.?

If it sends personnel into the country, does it provide cultural and language training?  If so, what form does that training take?  Does it include history and taboos?  Does it provide survival skills in the language?  And what of personal security?  Are there briefings on this topic?  Are employees issued an emergency evacuation plan?  Are they given contact numbers for the embassy?

I want to hear from companies that send personnel overseas, as well as from the personnel themselves.  I would like to discover the most praiseworthy programs for preparing employees for life and service overseas and hear their lessons learned.

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