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Michael Dickmann

Many organizations fail to implement leading-edge practices that have been shown by research to contribute to staff productivity and the financial performance of the enterprise. Those issues that academics are interested in do not get commensurate attention from practitioners. It seems that key human resource (HR) research findings are not acknowledged, read or agreed upon by practitioners. In turn, there is a lack of research into those issues that practitioners are interested in. Themes that are dear to practitioners, such as compensation, are only rarely explored through research. In fact, some authors talk about a ‘theory’ versus ‘practice’ dichotomy where human resource approaches are rarely guided by sound theory and, instead, often follow fads. This chapter will first discuss the advantages and challenges for academics to engage in research collaborations with practitioners. The argument points to the tremendous importance of exploring organizational and individual patterns and how practitioners can support this investigative journey. Then, I explore research for and with practitioners in the global mobility area. In so doing, an eight-step process model of academic–practitioner engagement is developed. Throughout, comments from experienced practitioners and academics outline a variety of considerations and provide recommendations. It includes perspectives from my own experience as well as those from business (n=2) and academia (n=4) who have worked extensively on research projects with partners from ‘the other side’ of the academia–industry divide. Lastly, six distinct forms of academic–practitioner collaboration are presented together with my personal reflections and recommendations.

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Jan Selmer

From a historic perspective, examining 55 years of research, from the 1960s to the 2010s, supplemented by an initial overview of essential academic books on expatriates, 1497 research articles are identified and categorized into 27 major themes and 22 minor themes. Some of the latter are classified as ‘hot’, that is, those that in the future could become major themes. Investigating the scholars behind the quickly growing volume of research on expatriates, it is shown that a few individuals have dominated this development, due to the development of research themes and specific personal circumstances. It is argued that academic research on expatriates has a great future since the long-term trend of the annual average per decade of published academic research articles is increasing at a rapid rate and this is also the trend for the annual average of research articles on expatriates per decade of the major themes. However, the future may not look like the history, as it seldom does, since the main impact may come from new trends in global mobility, international work and changing conditions for such endeavours.

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Anthony Fee

This chapter addresses a group of expatriates often overlooked by business and management researchers, but who comprise a large and growing proportion of the globally mobile workforce. These are expatriates working in humanitarian aid and development cooperation (international aid and development, or IAD). As this chapter makes clear, the sector is far from homogenous and defies easy categorization. Notwithstanding this, the umbrella term ‘Aidland’ of the chapter’s title is a metaphorical construct coined by a social anthropologist to describe the virtual, cultural and geographic spaces that exist in the provision of aid and development; for expatriates, this is often a third cultural space separate from their home and host cultures, with established vernacular, mores, artefacts and discourses that are distinct and often a source of shared identity to its inhabitants. The chapter contains five sections. First, I demystify some of the bewildering terminology, concepts and actors that populate the sector. Following this, the operating context of Aidland is canvassed, focusing on features that make the expatriate experience distinctive. Next, an overview of the research base that has examined expatriates in this sector is presented and discussed. It combines literature from within aid and development with literature from the business and management sphere. This is followed by a discussion of future research possibilities, and concluding thoughts.

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Anthony Fee

Crisis events are on the rise globally – major natural disasters now affect over 140 million people worldwide each year and deaths from terrorism have increased five-fold since 2000. While these situations can occur anywhere, they take on magnified priority and challenge for expatriate staff. Expatriates may be an organization’s most valuable human assets. They can operate a long way from head office and in locations that are relatively unfamiliar, making monitoring and supporting their well-being complicated. Language, cultural and geographic distances can combine to make discerning and verifying threats more difficult than in familiar domestic contexts. Incidents of kidnapping, evacuation, injury and the murder of expatriates and their families are on the rise and reflect a new ‘reality’ for global organizations. This chapter reviews research into the safety and security issues associated with expatriation and the management of expatriates. It focuses on research into the ways in which MNEs ensure the well-being of their expatriate staff when a crisis unfolds. I clarify definitions relevant to this topic. I then summarise the current research base. Finally, a number of future research directions are canvassed. To exemplify some of the core practices evident in the literature, the chapter includes several illustrative case studies. These come from a suite of recent empirical studies of MNCs with which the author has been involved.

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Lisa Clarke, Akhentoolove Corbin and Betty Jane Punnett

Developing countries are increasingly important in the global economy and levels of trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) between developed and developing countries are expanding. This chapter argues that increasing levels of trade and investment results in greater numbers of expatriates to/from developed/developing countries. The literature on developing countries remains limited and this is the case relative to expatriates, therefore little is known about expatriates moving between the two groups of countries. This chapter discusses the limited literature on expatriates to/from developed/developing countries. It briefly considers the need for expatriates in the context of FDI and gives evidence of the growth in FDI between developed and developing countries. It considers differences between the two sets of countries as background to examining the literature on expatriates in this context. The chapter concludes with suggestions for areas of research and acknowledges that this is an extremely important and relevant area for research. Academics are encouraged to consider it as a fertile research field.

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Kate Hutchings and Snejina Michailova

Since the late 1970s a stream of research has engaged with the issue of women’s continued under-representation among expatriates. The existing research has debated whether there are country, organizational, and individual reasons why women are not selected for, do not accept, or do not initiate international career opportunities to the same extent as men. The primary focus of much of the research has been on Western women who are single or in dual career relationships and working in multinational corporations. In this chapter we: present a critique of the extant literature; outline the key themes that have attracted most scholarly attention; and offer suggestions for a more inclusive view of female expatriates. In particular, we see potential for future studies considering the diversity of females engaged in international work and careers, namely: women from developing countries; women in non-traditional family situations; and women working across industries and sectors.

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Edited by Yvonne McNulty and Jan Selmer

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Min Wan, Romila Singh and Margaret A. Shaffer

There has been increased attention on the variety of global employees during the past decades. However, studies on global families remain relatively scarce, divergent and poorly organized. In this review, we define the term ‘global family’ and summarize the literature using a 2 x 2 typology that reflects the traditional and non-traditional forms of global employment and family structures. Based on our review, we offer an agenda for future research on the role and experiences of global families.

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David G. Collings and Michael Isichei

Over the past decade global talent management (GTM) has emerged as a key theme in the field of international human resource management (IHRM). A key element of the global talent strategies of many multinational enterprises has been the international mobility of employees, illustrating the central role of expatriation in GTM. However, little is known about the relationship between GTM and global mobility, particularly the implications of GTM for individual expatriates. Much of the literature that has considered the relationship between GTM and global mobility has taken an organizational perspective, foregrounding organizational objectives while relegating individual assignee perspectives to the background. Unlike much of the literature on the topic, this chapter will consider what GTM means for individual expatriates. Using the expat cycle – which considers the pre-assignment, assignment, and post assignment stages of an international assignment, the chapter considers how global talent systems impact the decisions individuals make around global mobility, their experiences while on assignment, and the career implications of global mobility in light of global talent systems.

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Miriam Moeller and B. Sebastian Reiche

The practicality of only relying on using expatriate managers within multinational corporations (MNCs) is becoming debatable with regard to their ability to manage the escalating demands in the global marketplace. Taken from subsidiaries or other countries, inpatriates are assigned to operate in MNC headquarter locations over varying timeframes. Inpatriates can deliver a diversity in management perspectives that is often less visible within the manner in which expatriates operate and this diversity can help to develop and perpetuate the highly sought after global mindset in MNCs. Inpatriates have received limited exposure in extant literature, and it is our aim to present a synopsis and clarification of the research relating to these professionals. This chapter first defines inpatriates and distinguishes characteristics of an inpatriate from those possessed by an expatriate. Second, we highlight the rationale for understanding inpatriates in the context of MNCs. Third, we provide an overview of the limited set of theoretical underpinnings linked to inpatriates on international assignments. Fourth, we address the implications of utilizing inpatriates on theoretical and practical grounds, ending with a detailed future research agenda. The chapter serves to explore and leverage the utility of inpatriates in MNCs.