Staffing top management positions in multinational subsidiaries – a local perspectiveon expatriate management
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International staffing decisions, their determinants and effectiveness in the context of multinational corporations (MNCs) are among the core inquiries in research on MNCs, particularly International Human Resource Management (IHRM) studies. Therefore, there is ample literature on expatriate management that covers a very broad range of topics. However, much of the research effort so far has been made to explain expatriation mainly from the headquarters’ perspective. What is missing in such studies is multinational subsidiaries personnel’s view on this issue. This article attempts to fill this gap by answering a general question concerning international staffing decisions: Who should run a foreign subsidiary – an expatriate or a local manager? Moreover, the additional aim of this article is to indicate what should be done to improve expatriate management. The empirical findings can also contribute to understanding of the general perception of an expatriate’s role by subsidiaries’ employees. The emphasis is mainly put on staffing decisions with regards to the Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) position in a multinational subsidiary. Yet, some empirical findings contribute to the general literature on expatriate management. The author study resulted in the following major findings: 1) Regardless of who occupies a CEO’s position in a multinational subsidiary, i.e. an expatriate or a host country manager (HCN), he/she must be aware of his/her role as a liaison between the cultures (namely, the national cultures and the corporate culture, and the subsidiary culture); 2) To be effective as the liaison, the manager needs to develop his/her cultural competence and the local cadre’s skills; 3) He/she should also actively strengthen the subsidiaries’ position within the MNC’s structure.
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