Pluralistic tensions in expatriating managers

Stephen J. Perkins (LMBS, London Metropolitan University, London, UK)
Romain Daste (LMBS, London Metropolitan University, London, UK)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Publication date: 4 September 2007



The purpose of this article is to enhance understanding of influences on interaction between corporate personnel and development specialists and line functions associated with expatriating managers. Line managers are expected to accept greater responsibility for people management and development. But line managers' strategies for managing risks inherent in supervising expatriate managers may cause to surface incompatibilities with specialists' corporate “policy conscience” role. A pluralistically inclined perspective on “managerial interest streams” offers insights into inter‐group perceptions and behaviour.


Focusing on organisational actors' interpretations, a non‐standardised survey by e‐mail, covering a small sample of expatriate managers (n=20) employed in various countries by a large UK‐headquartered healthcare retail group, was complemented by semi‐structured interviews with personnel and development specialists in a further seven large multinational companies.


Potential tensions around the application of corporate expatriation policy may be attributed to factors “educating” line and specialist orientations to expatriate managers.


The value of the paper is in the development of an original model sketching pluralistically located interaction around expatriation management. While limited to an exploratory empirical investigation, the practical implications derive from specification of opportunities and threats to partnership building between those involved in expatriating managers.



Perkins, S.J. and Daste, R. (2007), "Pluralistic tensions in expatriating managers", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 550-569.

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