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The determinants of expatriate staffing by Japanese multinationals in Asia: control, learning and vertical business groups


  • René A Belderbos

    (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, The Netherlands)

  • Mariëlle G Heijltjes

    (Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands)


We empirically examine the determinants of the decision whether or not to appoint an expatriate as the managing director of overseas affiliates for a sample of 844 Japanese manufacturing affiliates operating in Asia in 1995. Confirmation is found for hypotheses derived both from a control and coordination perspective on expatriation and from a knowledge creation and learning perspective. Strategic dependence of the parent on the affiliate increases the propensity to appoint expatriates, whereas localisation of the affiliate reduces it. Organisational experience in the country, both by the affiliate and by the firm, increases the probability that host country nationals will be appointed. Inter-firm relationships within vertical keiretsu groups impact on expatriation policies through inter-organisational knowledge exchange in host countries and the mitigation of localisation requirements owing to intra-group transactions. Journal of International Business Studies (2005) 36, 341–354. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400135

Suggested Citation

  • René A Belderbos & Mariëlle G Heijltjes, 2005. "The determinants of expatriate staffing by Japanese multinationals in Asia: control, learning and vertical business groups," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 36(3), pages 341-354, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:36:y:2005:i:3:p:341-354

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    4. 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.
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    6. Santacreu-Vasut, Estefania & Teshima, Kensuke, 2016. "Foreign employees as channel for technology transfer: Evidence from MNC's subsidiaries in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 92-112.
    7. Jean-Pascal Bassino & Marion Dovis & Pierre van der Eng, 2015. "Do Japanese MNCs use expatriates to contain risk in Asian host countries?," Asia Pacific Business Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 383-402, July.
    8. repec:eee:worbus:v:54:y:2019:i:1:p:24-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Chung, Hsi-Mei, 2014. "The role of family management and ownership on semi-globalization pattern of globalization: The case of family business groups," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 260-271.
    10. Caligiuri, Paula & Bonache, Jaime, 2016. "Evolving and enduring challenges in global mobility," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 127-141.
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    12. Nicola D. Coniglio & Rezart Hoxhaj & Adnan Seric, 2017. "The demand for foreign workers by foreign firms: evidence from Africa," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(2), pages 353-384, May.
    13. Yulin Fang & Guo-Liang Frank Jiang & Shige Makino & Paul W. Beamish, 2010. "Multinational Firm Knowledge, Use of Expatriates, and Foreign Subsidiary Performance," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 27-54, January.
    14. 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.
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    17. Martine R. Haas, 2006. "Acquiring and Applying Knowledge in Transnational Teams: The Roles of Cosmopolitans and Locals," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(3), pages 367-384, June.
    18. Chiao, Yu-Ching & Yu, Chwo-Ming Joseph & Peng, Ju-Tzu Ann, 2009. "Partner nationality, market-focus and IJV performance: A contingent approach," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 238-249, July.
    19. Panagiota Sapouna & Dimitris Manolopoulos & Pavlos Dimitratos, 2016. "How do MNC R&D Laboratory Roles Affect Employee International Assignments?," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 56(5), pages 759-779, October.
    20. 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.
    21. Kawai, Norifumi & Strange, Roger, 2014. "Subsidiary autonomy and performance in Japanese multinationals in Europe," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 504-515.
    22. Lin, Wen-Ting, 2016. "FDI decisions and business-group insider control: Evidence from Taiwanese group-affiliated firms investing in the Chinese market," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 525-533.

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