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A transaction cost analysis of staffing decisions in international operations


  • Benito, Gabriel R.G.
  • Tomassen, Sverre
  • Bonache-Pérez, Jaime
  • Pla-Barber, José


This paper analyzes staffing decisions in foreign subsidiaries from the perspective of transaction cost theory. We focus on the ex post transaction costs of the employment relation. Specifically, we look at the monitoring, bonding, maladaptation, and bargaining costs of conducting activities in specific subsidiaries in a foreign country. We hypothesize that the transaction costs of using expatriates are lower than those generated by local employees, especially in the higher managerial echelons of foreign subsidiaries, but also that costs can be reduced as individuals become more experienced. We also conjecture that ex post transaction costs are influenced by cultural differences between the host and the home countries, and by characteristics of the companies and their subsidiaries. The framework is empirically corroborated by survey data on a sample of 145 Norwegian MNCs.

Suggested Citation

  • Benito, Gabriel R.G. & Tomassen, Sverre & Bonache-Pérez, Jaime & Pla-Barber, José, 2005. "A transaction cost analysis of staffing decisions in international operations," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 101-126, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:scaman:v:21:y:2005:i:1:p:101-126

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. repec:bla:jomstd:v:54:y:2017:i:3:p:304-339 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Slangen, Arjen H.L. & van Tulder, Rob J.M., 2009. "Cultural distance, political risk, or governance quality? Towards a more accurate conceptualization and measurement of external uncertainty in foreign entry mode research," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 276-291, June.
    4. Arjen H. L. Slangen & Jean-François Hennart, 2008. "Do Foreign Greenfields Outperform Foreign Acquisitions or Vice Versa? An Institutional Perspective," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(7), pages 1301-1328, November.
    5. Peng, George Z. & Beamish, Paul W., 2014. "MNC subsidiary size and expatriate control: Resource-dependence and learning perspectives," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 51-62.
    6. repec:eee:intman:v:23:y:2017:i:3:p:306-325 is not listed on IDEAS


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