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Managing local employees: expatriate roles in a subsidiary

Phallapa Petison (College of Management, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand)
Lalit Johri (Said Business School, Oxford University, Oxford, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 23 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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).

Findings

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.

Practical implications

The paper provides a tool that will help expatriates understand their roles according to the technical skills and managerial capabilities of local employees.

Originality/value

The paper offers practical advice for diagnosing expatriate roles and their training prior to assignment to a subsidiary.

Keywords

Citation

Petison, P. and Johri, L. (2008), "Managing local employees: expatriate roles in a subsidiary", Management Decision, Vol. 46 No. 5, pp. 743-760. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740810873743

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited