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Foreign Employee’s Responses to the 2011 Triple Disaster in Japan


  • Ralf Bebenroth

    (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan)

  • Nir Kshetri

    (University of North Carolina Greensboro, USA)

  • Kotoe Konishi

    (Business Faculty at Kobe University, Japan)


The purpose of this work is to examine how the Great East Japan Earthquake impacted foreign employees at subsidiaries in Japan. We divide foreign employees in three types, classic expatriates, locally hired foreigners and short term employees which are known in the literature as frequent fliers. We found that foreign employees differ according to their type in adjusting in case of an emergency. Expatriates exhibited a higher tendency to leave the country than locally hired foreigners. Frequent fliers hardly arrived to the Japanese subsidiary anymore after the triple disaster. Surprisingly, subsidiaries faced more hardship because of the lack of frequent fliers than to a lack of locally hired foreigners. Results also depend on the respondents’ nationality. On the one hand, Japanese respondents expressed more concern that it was difficult at the triple disaster to retain expatriates in their Japanese jobs. On the other hand, German respondents were more concerned about retaining locally hired and frequent fliers at their subsidiaries. Our surprising results of more hardship when frequent fliers left than when local hired foreigner left was given by a higher importance of Japanese respondents. Furthermore, German respondents see still nowadays difficulties to get local hired foreigners back to their subsidiaries when they left the country. Implications are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kob:dpaper:dp2013-26

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lingfang Fayol-Song, 2011. "Reasons behind management localization in MNCs in China," Asia Pacific Business Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 455-471, October.
    2. Richardson, Julia & Mallon, Mary, 2005. "Career interrupted? The case of the self-directed expatriate," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 409-420, November.
    3. Jan Selmer & Jakob Lauring, 2011. "Expatriate academics: job factors and work outcomes," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(2), pages 194-210, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Torsten Gerpott, 2009. "Forschung & Entwicklung und technologieorientierte Unternehmensakquisitionen," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 9-41, May.
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