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The Firms

GMSA denotes the General Motors Corporation of South Africa which is a fully possessed subsidiary of the General Motors automobile manufacturers of America (The Wall Street Journal, 2015). It is involved in manufacturing and distributing autos in South Africa under three notable brands namely Isuzu, Opel and Chevrolet. GMSA shares the benefits of General Motors’ global designs, manufacturing, and engineering, capital investment, sales, and purchasing. GMSA was formed in the year 1913 with involvement in the distribution of Chevrolet autos. In 1926, the Corporation commenced the assembling of autos creating makes such as Oakland, Buick, Chevrolet, Vauxhall, Pontiac, GMC trucks and Oldsmobile (The Wall Street Journal, 2015). In 1986, GM pulled out of South Africa because of political tension and thus, Delta Motor Corporation was established in 1987 (The Wall Street Journal, 2015). In 1997, GM bought 49 percent of shares in Delta Motor establishment and GM purchased the remaining 51 percent after its return to South Africa (Bischoff & Wood, 2013).


Its head offices and the manufacturing facilities are based in Port Elizabeth. Today, the firm have approximately 1800 employees countrywide in both the assembly facilities and its headquarters at Port Elizabeth (The Wall Street Journal, 2015). Its sales and marketing offices are situated in Woodmead within Johannesburg with its regional offices located in Cape Town as well as in Durban (Bischoff & Wood, 2013). The corporation has approximately 137 franchises placed in cities and metropolises all over the country; dispensing makes such as Isuzu, Opel and Chevrolet (Bischoff & Wood, 2013). Accessibility to high-quality expertise in many disciplines is a key part of GMSA’s global integration that ensures improved methods of manufacturing and high product quality. The corporation have effected a global system of manufacturing that is guided by the tenets of standardization established for guaranteed quality, continuous improvement, and people involvement (Bischoff & Wood, 2013).

Reasons for Choosing This Foreign Location

There are several reasons as to why I chose South Africa as my foreign location. The first reason is that the country has notable foreign investments in all facades of the economy (Peck, 2002). This encouragement for foreign investment is essential for international firms who have an interest in investing in such a country. South Africa has a prolonged history of foreign investment, especially the involvement of American, British and German investors. Such presence of foreigners from the Western side of the continent will make easy the process of adapting to a new life. The second reason for choosing this foreign location is the presence of a well-developed infrastructure (Peck, 2002). South Africa is the leading economy in Africa and thus, it is well linked with reliable infrastructure that facilitates business activities. Reliable infrastructure is a crucial factor in accessing the location of the manufacturing plant, marketing headquarters, and the head offices from any location of the country. This way, there is a guarantee of minimum time wastage when undertaking the assignment in the country.

The third reason is the factor that English speaking is the first language used in the country. An employee on assignment from English oriented countries to a country whose first language is not English may encounter a communication problem when communicating with the residents. The situation may particularly worsen when on marketing assignments. The fourth reason is that non-residents are free to transfer capital either in or out of the country, and the bank has the mandate of reporting these transactions to the authority (Peck, 2002). In the case of acquiring corporations or businesses, there are no restrictions for foreign investors in South Africa. In addition, a foreigner may transfer the money earned by selling from South Africa freely with no restrictions (Peck, 2002). A combination of these reasons is a depiction of a friendly environment for carrying out an assignment.

International Assignment Preparations

Managing daily challenges encountered when undertaking an international assignment while ensuring general success and attainment of long-term objectives is a challenging task (Pocztowski, 2013). Under the current circumstances, there are numerous activities to be carried out in preparation for the international assignment. The first preparation activity is to prepare a timeline and tasks matrix with items to be accomplished and ownership responsibilities. The second activity for the preparation is reviewing the policies guiding the assignment, meeting the employer for discussion pertaining to the assignment and commencing the process of a passport and a visa.

The next level of preparation may take place about 45 days before the assignment day. Several activities may be carried out at this level that include meeting the service providers, completing the required medical necessities, and arrangements for insurance and banking. The third preparation activity training on culture. Preparing in advance for the cultural transition that will be experienced in a new location is vital for foreign assignments. For this reason, investing in cultural training is inevitable. This assertion is true because the adaptability in host country will have a vital role in ensuring the general success of the assignment. According to a survey done by researchers on people who had gone to an assignment, most of them uniformly agreed on the importance of a cultural awareness session prior to undertaking the assignment (Pocztowski, 2013).

To enhance cultural awareness, there are abundant resources at disposal for use by assignees to obtain crucial information on the culture of the residents of assignment area. Technology aided by the internet provide opportunities for assignees to search the web for essential information pertaining to their assignment and the area of assignment. There are countless web sites offering forums for discussing expatriate experiences, sharing stories, writing letters, asking questions and learning the commonly utilized words in foreign languages. In addition, speaking with some expatriate friends and attending structured programs for cultural training will be a necessary preparation for eliminating the frustration of turbulent cultural transition.

The third preparation activity is establishing a local contact in South Africa. This option is valuable in establishing a reliable source of aid in cultural transition. For this reason, the most reliable local contact can be an individual who is already working with GMSA Corporation. Establishing a local contact in South Africa will be an easy task since there are many local employees of GMSA whose country of origin is United States. After preparation, individuals are encouraged to become their judge in evaluating their personal characteristics, willingness and motivation in succeeding in the assignment. In this regard, they should assess their flexibility, swiftness of adjusting to change and a willingness to apply their energy and effort to learning new culture and language (Pocztowski, 2013).

South African Macro-Environment

Presently, South Africa is among the most complicated, diverse and favorable developing markets internationally (Peck, 2002). Because of its strategic location at the tip of Africa, South Africa has become a strategic investment setting, for the market openings that are contained by its borders and as an entrance of the rest of the world. This situation has resulted in a market of approximately one billion people. The country is the economic heart of Africa which has a promising demographic outline. The infrastructure in the country are world-class, has a high-level innovation, invest immensely in research and improvement and has an already proven manufacturing base.

Politically, ANC has established unwavering rule of 16 consecutive years (Winkler, 2005). The government of the country is stable, but there are uncertainties attributed to the inability of dealing with union strikes and a considerably deteriorating electorate vote. Economically, the GDP is prospected to acquire a continuous growth and the environment for business operation is adamantly strong despite a prediction for future weakening of its currency (Bischoff & Wood, 2013). Socially, the working population of South Africa presents inadequacy of skilled labor required by international firms (Bischoff & Wood, 2013). This assertion is true despite the economic viability of investing in this country considering the little entry costs.

Technologically, availability of industrial specific knowledge and the presence of improved infrastructure helps in addressing the short-term inadequacies of energy supply (Bischoff & Wood, 2013). Legally, the systems are very supportive of companies and businesses through resilient regulations and laws regarding employment (Winkler, 2005). Environmentally, South Africa is at the lead in confronting global warming. Its ability to produce renewable energy are great, but something should be done to combat the reliance on cool, which is highly pollutant, as a source of energy.


Bischoff, C., & Wood, G. (2013). Micro and small enterprises and employment creation: A case study of manufacturing micro and small enterprises in South Africa. Development Southern Africa, 30(4-05), 564-579. doi:10.1080/0376835x.2013.817303

Peck, R. (2002). The New South Africa (review). Africa Today, 49(4), 135-137. doi:10.1353/at.2003.0048

Pocztowski, A. (2013). Adding Value from Human Resource Development in International Assignments. AOC, (9), 9-28. doi:10.15678/aoc.2013.0901

The Wall Street Journal. (2015). GM Stock Price & News – General Motors Co. – Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 February 2015, from

Winkler, J. (2005). The Multinational Corporation and Social Policy: Special Reference to General Motors in South Africa. Sociology, 9(3), 551-552. doi:10.1177/003803857500900334


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