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CORPORATE CULTURE AND EXPATRIATE SELECTION
STRATEGIES IN MNCs: ARE THEY RELATED? – SOME
EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE
Sara Jane Adler & Cherrie Jiuhua Zhu
Working Paper 52/05
July 2005

DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT
WORKING PAPER SERIES
ISSN 1327–5216

Abstract
The purpose of this study is to examine whether an organisation’s corporate culture has an impact on
the expatriate selection strategies(including policies and criteria) used in multinational corporations
(MNCs). In an exploratory study conducted in this paper, sixty-seven recruitment and selection
professionals (such as human resource managers, employment consultants and recruitment
agencies) responded to a survey questionnaire examining their organisation’s corporate culture and
expatriate selection strategies. The findings ofthe study indicate that an organisation’s corporate
culture does have some influence on its expatriate selection strategies, although the relationship
between corporate culture and selection strategies is not strong. However, the small sample size,
obtained in this study, prohibited the researcher from determining whether, given the influence of
corporate culture, the expatriate selectioncriteria are also influenced by the preferred staffing policies
of the MNC. Based on these results, the implications for International Human Resource
Management (IHRM) are discussed and the limitations of the study and recommendations for future
research are outlined.
This paper is a work in progress. Material in the paper cannot be used without permission of the author.

CORPORATE CULTURE ANDEXPATRIATE SELECTION STRATEGIES IN MNCs: ARE THEY
RELATED? – SOME EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE
As an increasing number of organisations enter the global business arena, the number and extent
of business representatives crossing international borders has surged dramatically (Graf, 2004). It
is, thus, imperative for multinational corporations (MNCs) to attract, select, develop and retain
employees whocan live and work effectively outside of their own national borders (Caligiuri, 2000).
However, it is surprising how little attention it has received in the International Human Resource
Management (IHRM) literature (Huo, Huang and Napier, 2002). Furthermore, research has
recognised the important role that corporate culture has played in determining the behaviour within
the organisation(Sorensen, 2002). Past empirical research examining culture and expatriation is
extensive, with the majority of research predominantly focusing on the influence of national culture
(e.g., Cho and Yoon, 2001; Huo et al., 2002; Graf, 2004). As little research has been conducted to
investigate the relationship between corporate culture and expatriate selection, the purpose of this
paper is to address thisgap by examining whether an organisation’s corporate culture has an
impact on the expatriate selection strategies (including policies and criteria) used in MNCs.
Corporate Culture
Despite its practical importance and face validity, corporate culture remains one of the most
controversial areas among organisational theorists (Yeung, Brockbank and Ulrich, 1991), resulting
in a lack of consensusamong scholars regarding its definition. For example, Smircich (1983)
attempts to define corporate culture based on two main uses. First, as an organisational variable
which may “mould and shape internal culture to particular ways and how to change culture,
consistent with managerial purposes” (p. 346); and second, as a root metaphor promoting “a view
of organisations as expressive forms,manifestations of human consciousness” (p. 347).
Other
researchers (e.g. Van Muijen, et al.,1999: 555; Den Hartog and Verburg, 2004: 58), define
corporate culture as “a set of core values, behavioural norms, artefacts and behavioural patterns
which govern the way people in an organisation interact with each other and invest energy in their
jobs and the organisation at large”. However, this...
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