In order to identify expatriate roles in a subsidiary it is necessary to go beyond those functions which are subservient to the headquarters. This paper sets out to prescribe a new spectrum of development roles with respect to varying capabilities and development needs of local employees.
The roles of expatriates are analyzed based on seven case studies conducted with top automobile manufacturers in Thailand: Toyota Motor Thailand; Hino Motors (Thailand); Honda Automobile (Thailand); Isuzu Motors (Thailand); BMW (Thailand); DaimlerChrysler (Thailand); and Auto Alliance (Thailand).
Four types of expatriate roles – commander, conductor, coach, and connector – are proposed; the roles correspond to the degree of task readiness and managerial capabilities of local employees.
The paper provides a tool that will help expatriates understand their roles according to the technical skills and managerial capabilities of local employees.
The paper offers practical advice for diagnosing expatriate roles and their training prior to assignment to a subsidiary.
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