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The work-related perceptions of expatriate superiors and local subordinates at multinational corporations

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dc.contributor.author Yarrow, Ellen P
dc.date.accessioned 2011-06-21T01:58:25Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-26T21:33:56Z
dc.date.available 2011-06-21T01:58:25Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-26T21:33:56Z
dc.date.copyright 2006
dc.date.issued 2006
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/24977
dc.description.abstract The differing nature of employment between expatriates and their locally employed subordinates at multinational corporations gives rise to an interesting relationship. In the majority of cases expatriates are dispatched as managers, inevitably having subordinates who are local employees. This leads to a range of intriguing questions: How are expatriates generally perceived by their local employees? How are local employees perceived by their expatriate superiors? Does the expatriate nature of employment of the manager affect on the relationship with their locally employed subordinate? These questions provided the stimulus for this exploratory research which aims to shed light on the dynamics in the relationship. Data were collected through separate face-to-face semi-structured interviews with two distinct groups of participants - expatriates and their local employees. Five well-known multinational corporations operating in New Zealand and Fiji agreed to participate. Interviews with seven expatriate superiors and twelve of their locally employed subordinates were conducted. An advantage of this study is that it gathered data from both expatriates and their locally employed subordinates simultaneously, providing a matched perspective of their relationship. This study reveals a number of different perceptions of expatriate superiors and their locally employed subordinates. Organisation development, in the form of developing local employees, is perceived to be one of the main roles or result of expatriation. This is possibly an emerging reason for the continuing use of expatriation. As part of this, expatriates are perceived to mentor local employees in a number of ways particularly through their connections and network. However, the expatriates' connections and network also have a downside: a perception that the expatriate has strong political connections to the parent company of the multinational corporation. Sharing of knowledge with local employees is another part of the mentoring role expatriates are perceived to play. Furthermore, there is also a perception that expatriates are lacking in local and cultural knowledge. Therefore, they require the assistance and knowledge of local employees. It can be concluded, that there needs to be an exchange of knowledge between expatriates and local employees for the relationship to succeed. Local employees are perceived to be vital to the local subsidiary of the multinational corporation, a finding acknowledged in the literature, by expatriates and by local employees. However, local employees are perceived to display pride, complacency or to have preconceptions of expatriates. A problem with these attitudes is that they may lead to the withdrawal of support and assistance of the expatriate, identified as important to the success of an expatriate. In doing so, however, the local employee is not likely to benefit from the mentoring role that an expatriate is perceived to bring. Based on this study, a diagram illustrating the dynamics in the expatriate superior-local subordinate relationship is presented. It is hoped that this exploration and analysis of these matched perceptions will assist multinational corporations, expatriates and locals to gain a better understanding of the dynamics in the expatriate superior local-subordinate relationship. The implications of this research on knowledge management, recruitment and selection, and career development are discussed. Some suggestions for further research are also made. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title The work-related perceptions of expatriate superiors and local subordinates at multinational corporations en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline Commerce and Administration en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ


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