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Japanese firms and the decline of the Japanese expatriate

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  • Beamish, Paul W.
  • Inkpen, Andrew C.
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    Abstract

    Conventional wisdom holds that Japanese firms use large numbers of expatriates and are reluctant to allow local nationals a significant role in subsidiary management. Japanese firms have been criticized for their unwillingness to capitalize on the internal diversity in their international managerial ranks. It has been suggested that a rice paper ceiling in Japanese firms restricts local managers from advancement opportunities and involvement in corporate-level decision making. The research reported in this paper directly challenges the notion that Japanese firms are unwilling to reduce their use of expatriates. Using a comprehensive database of Japanese subsidiaries, this paper shows that the number of Japanese expatriates is declining and has been for some time. One explanation for this decline is that Japanese firms have had no choice because of a limited supply of managers for expatriate positions. A second explanation is that Japanese firms are beginning to recognize the importance of empowering local management and are becoming more truly global in how they compete.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of World Business.

    Volume (Year): 33 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 35-50

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:33:y:1998:i:1:p:35-50

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    References

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    1. Hennart, J.-F.M.A., 1991. "The transaction costs theory of joint ventures : an empirical study of Japanese subsidiaries in the United States," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-175820, Tilburg University.
    2. Yamawaki, Hideki, 1991. "Exports and Foreign Distributional Activities: Evidence on Japanese Firms in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 294-300, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Yoshitaka Yamazaki & Jeewhan Yoon, 2012. "Fairness and job satisfaction of Japanese multinationals in Asia," Working Papers EMS_2012_05, Research Institute, International University of Japan.
    2. Lehrer, Mark & Asakawa, Kazuhiro, 2002. "Offshore knowledge incubation: the "third path" for embedding R&D labs in foreign systems of innovation," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 297-306, January.
    3. Dutta, Dev K. & Beamish, Paul W., 2013. "Expatriate Managers, Product Relatedness, and IJV Performance: A Resource and Knowledge-based Perspective," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 152-162.
    4. Chung, Chris Changwha & Beamish, Paul W., 2005. "Investment mode strategy and expatriate strategy during times of economic crisis," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 331-355, September.
    5. Lehrer, Mark & Asakawa, Kazuhiro, 1999. "Unbundling European operations: regional management and corporate flexibility in American and Japanese MNCS," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 267-286, October.
    6. George Peng & Paul Beamish, 2014. "The effect of host country long term orientation on subsidiary ownership and survival," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 423-453, June.
    7. Peng, Mike W. & Lee, Seung-Hyun & Tan, J. Justin, 2001. "The keiretsu in Asia: Implications for multilevel theories of competitive advantage," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 253-276.
    8. Jiang, Ruihua Joy & Beamish, Paul W. & Makino, Shige, 2014. "Time compression diseconomies in foreign expansion," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 114-121.
    9. Yoshitaka Yamazaki & Thitiwat Attrapreyangkul, 2011. "Learning style differences between Japan and Thailand: A case of Japanese multinationals," Working Papers EMS_2011_18, Research Institute, International University of Japan.
    10. Fang, Yulin & Wade, Michael & Delios, Andrew & Beamish, Paul W., 2013. "An exploration of multinational enterprise knowledge resources and foreign subsidiary performance," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 30-38.
    11. Chao, Mike Chen-Ho & Kumar, Vikas, 2010. "The impact of institutional distance on the international diversity-performance relationship," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 93-103, January.
    12. Riaz, Suhaib & Glenn Rowe, W. & Beamish, Paul W., 2014. "Expatriate-deployment levels and subsidiary growth: A temporal analysis," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 1-11.
    13. Yoshitaka Yamazaki, 2012. "Job satisfaction and confidence of Asian managers in Japanese MNCs," Working Papers EMS_2012_22, Research Institute, International University of Japan.
    14. Peng, George Z., 2012. "FDI legitimacy and MNC subsidiary control: From legitimation to competition," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 115-131.
    15. Yoshitaka Yamazaki, 2013. "A qualitative approach to exploring competencies among host country national managers in Japanese MNCs," Working Papers EMS_2013_04, Research Institute, International University of Japan.
    16. Xu, Dean & Lu, Jane W., 2007. "Technological knowledge, product relatedness, and parent control: The effect on IJV survival," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(11), pages 1166-1176, November.
    17. Paik, Yongsun & Sohn, Junghoon Derick, 2004. "Expatriate managers and MNC's ability to control international subsidiaries: the case of Japanese MNCs," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 61-71, February.
    18. Belderbos,René A. & Heijltjes,Mariëlle G., 2003. "The Determinants Of Expatriation In Japanese Multinationals: Vertical Business Groups And Executive Staffing Policies In Asia," Research Memorandum 055, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    19. Makino, Shige & Beamish, Paul W. & Zhao, Natalie Bin, 2004. "The characteristics and performance of Japanese FDI in less developed and developed countries," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 377-392, November.
    20. Naoki Ando & Dong Kee Rhee & Namgyoo Park, 2008. "Parent country nationals or local nationals for executive positions in foreign affiliates: An empirical study of Japanese affiliates in Korea," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 113-134, January.
    21. Paul W. Beamish and Andrew Delios & Paul W. Beamish and Andrew Delios, 1998. "Japanese Investment in Transitional Economies: Characteristics and Performance," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 194, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.

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