Management of International Staff
Over the last few decades, Western multinational corporations (MNCs) have shifted their focus beyond the industrialized world, attempting to capitalize on the growing business opportunities in developing and emerging markets. At the same time, many MNCs from emerging economies have expanded their activities beyond their domestic markets, with companies such as Haier, Embraer, Lenovo, Tata, Vale and Cemex successfully operating on an international scale. To keep up with the increasing global scope of their activities and develop the necessary expertise to compete in foreign markets, MNCs continue to heavily rely on a pool of international talent. In particular, international staffing serves as a crucial mechanism to allocate resources and skills, integrate an MNC s network of foreign units and share knowledge.This note deals with several aspects of international staffing in MNCs. First, it reviews different staffing policies and examines the determinants for the choice between host country and parent country nationals. In a second step, the underlying motives for deploying international staff between MNC units are discussed. Third, it reviews alternatives to the traditional expatriation of parent country nationals, including the use of inpatriate, short-term, self-initiated and virtual assignments. Subsequently, the note describes the international assignment process, discussing selection and preparation measures associated with international assignments, cultural adjustment during the assignment, compensation issues, and organizational support upon repatriation. The final section outlines a multidimensional perspective on how to assess the success of international assignments.