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Handbook of Research in International Human Resource Management

Edited by Günter K. Stahl and Ingmar Björkman

In providing an insightful overview of a wide range of global human resource issues facing MNCs, this pathbreaking Handbook highlights emergent topics and new research findings that could shape the field of future IHRM research. Theoretical discussion of the variables and processes that affect IHRM policies and practices is provided by renowned contributors with widely differing academic backgrounds, paradigmatic orientations, and theoretical and methodological approaches.
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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


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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