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Foreign locals: A cautionary tale on the culture of MNC local employees

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  • Dan V Caprar

    (Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

Abstract

Multinational corporations (MNCs) rely heavily on local employees when conducting their international operations, yet the international business literature provides few instances of true focus on these employees. The commonly used label “host-country nationals” (HCNs) confers them an identity strongly related to the culture of their country, prompting both researchers and practitioners to “know” them through the knowledge about the local culture. This paper provides evidence that a more sophisticated view of the culture of HCNs is needed: through an ethnographic exploration of HCNs working in local subsidiaries of American MNCs in Romania, I reveal that HCNs are not always culturally interchangeable with the rest of the host-country population. HCNs can display a variety of cultural profiles more or less reflective of the national culture, depending on their enacted stance towards the native culture and the cultural landscape of the MNCs themselves. The findings call for further specification of theories relying on the assumed localness of HCNs, and should contribute to the ongoing conversation on the interplay between the cultures specific to the MNC and its host countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan V Caprar, 2011. "Foreign locals: A cautionary tale on the culture of MNC local employees," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 42(5), pages 608-628, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:42:y:2011:i:5:p:608-628
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hitotsuyanagi-Hansel, Azusa & Froese, Fabian Jintae & Pak, Yong Suhk, 2016. "Lessening the divide in foreign subsidiaries: The influence of localization on the organizational commitment and turnover intention of host country nationals," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 569-578.
    2. Tung, Rosalie L., 2016. "New perspectives on human resource management in a global context," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 142-152.
    3. Alfred M. Jaeger & Sung Soo Kim & Arif N. Butt, 2016. "Leveraging Values Diversity: The Emergence and Implications of a Global Managerial Culture in Global Organizations," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 227-254, April.
    4. Caligiuri, Paula & Bonache, Jaime, 2016. "Evolving and enduring challenges in global mobility," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 127-141.
    5. Malgorzata Rozkwitalska, 2016. "Thriving in Intercultural Interactions as an Antecedent of Organizational Creativity and Innovation (Prosperowanie w interakcjach miedzykulturowych jako poprzednik organizacyjnej kreatywnosci i innowa," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 14(61), pages 142-155.
    6. Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra & Ulf Andersson & Mary Yoko Brannen & Bo Bernhard Nielsen & A. Rebecca Reuber, 2016. "From the Editors: Can I trust your findings? Ruling out alternative explanations in international business research," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 47(8), pages 881-897, October.
    7. repec:eee:worbus:v:52:y:2017:i:5:p:640-652 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ralf Bebenroth & Nir Kshetri & Kotoe Konishi, 2013. "Foreign Employee’s Responses to the 2011 Triple Disaster in Japan," Discussion Paper Series DP2013-26, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    9. Jesper Edman, 2016. "Reconciling the advantages and liabilities of foreignness: Towards an identity-based framework," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 47(6), pages 674-694, August.
    10. Maria Elo, 2016. "Typology of diaspora entrepreneurship: Case studies in Uzbekistan," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 121-155, March.
    11. Patriotta, Gerardo & Castellano, Anna & Wright, Mike, 2013. "Coordinating knowledge transfer: Global managers as higher-level intermediaries," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 515-526.
    12. repec:eee:worbus:v:52:y:2017:i:5:p:714-725 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Bradley L Kirkman & Kevin B Lowe & Cristina B Gibson, 2017. "A retrospective on Culture’s Consequences: The 35-year journey," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 48(1), pages 12-29, January.

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