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Chapter 17: The Evolution from Repatriation of Managers in MNEs to ‘Patriation’ in Global Organizations
Michael Harvey and Milorad M. Novicevic If repatriates continue to leave their organizations at (such a high rate), organizations will fail to retain the international competencies that are the very objective of many international assignments. (Leiba-O’Sullivan, 2002: 597) Since the ﬁrst academic articles on repatriation of expatriates from international assignments started appearing in the academic literature (for example, Howard, 1974; Adler, 1981; Kendall, 1981; Harvey, 1983), the competitive landscape of multinational enterprises (MNEs) has changed dramatically, thereby altering the traditional repatriation process and issues. The hallmarks of the new competitive landscape, such as abruptly increasing levels of institutional uncertainty due to deregulation, rapidly evolving technological innovations bringing about disruptive technologies, unevenly accelerating pace of competitive interactions reducing the timeframe for making decisions, and elevated levels of economic integration within regional trading blocks (EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, and the like), have engendered a heretofore unknown concept of global hypercompetition. The requisite attempts of MNEs to shift strategic focus from economies of scale to economies of scope in the global context have only rendered their competitive advantage temporarily sustainable in this new hypercompetitive global marketplace (Griﬃn & Khan, 1992; Liebeskind, Oliver, Zucker & Brewer, 1996; D’Aveni, 1994, 1997, 1999; Gimeno & Woo, 1996). To gain and maintain at least a series of ‘momentary’ competitive advantages in these highly volatile environments, the MNEs have resorted to focusing their strategies on the development of intangible assets (which include the speciﬁc knowledge of managers utilized in cross-border assignments) and integrating them into distinct competencies (Prahalad & Hamel, 1990;...
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