Composing the top management team in the international subsidiary: Qualitative evidence on international staffing in U.S. MNCs in the Republic of Ireland

Collings, David G.; Morley, Michael J.; Gunnigle, Patrick
March 2008
Journal of World Business;Mar2008, Vol. 43 Issue 2, p197
Academic Journal
Abstract: International staffing is a central plank of enquiry in MNC research. In this context, much of the research effort has been dedicated to providing an understanding of expatriation from a headquarter perspective and on unearthing explanatory factors and situational issues associated with the expatriation of parent country nationals. Comparatively less is known about the utilisation of host country nationals (HCNs) and third country nationals (TCNs) in staffing key positions in MNC subsidiary operations. Drawing on the results of a qualitative study in the Irish context, the current paper presents a nuanced perspective on the staffing of MNC subsidiaries from a subsidiary perspective. We find that HCN and TCN employees play a key role in managing the U.S.-owned Irish subsidiaries investigated, most of which display a strong centralised control over their Irish subsidiaries. Our findings also point to a pattern of temporal evolution in the staffing policies pursued within the MNCs. Furthermore, our research lends support to the proposition that the use of HCNs and TCNs to staff senior positions in new expansions within the host country is higher where the expansion follows a wave of earlier investment in that location. We explicate our findings in the context of the enfolding literature and highlight the implications of the research for international staffing theory and practice.


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