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Worker identity, the liability of foreignness, the exclusion of local managers and unionism: A conceptual analysis

Carla C.J.M. Millar (School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands Ashridge Business School, Berkhamsted, UK)
Chong Ju Choi (Department of Shipping, Trade and Finance, Cass City University Business School, London, UK)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 4 July 2008




This paper aims to analyse the concept of worker identity and the liability of foreignness caused by over‐reliance on expatriate managers and under‐reliance on local managers, and explores the implications for foreign enterprises and global organizational change.


The authors posit that being a successful global organization in the twenty‐first century requires a greater appreciation of local managers' institutional value and the overcoming of psychic distance towards the identity of such local managers. This in turn will combat the social exclusion and the weakening of worker identity of local managers. This will increasingly become an issue for multinational corporations as in the twenty‐first century they accelerate their expansion into large emerging markets such as China.


It is argued that multinational enterprises need to assess local managers' knowledge and contributions as having not only operational and market value, but also institutional value, such as access to local social capital.


This paper has original value in looking at community unionism as a way of overcoming the isolation of local managers.



Millar, C.C.J.M. and Ju Choi, C. (2008), "Worker identity, the liability of foreignness, the exclusion of local managers and unionism: A conceptual analysis", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 460-470.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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