Applying Critical Realism to the MNC: Exploring New Realities in Staffing and Expatriation

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This article argues that critical realism (CR) offers an ontological position suited to understanding the dynamic relations between multinational companies (MNCs) and the complex political spaces within which they operate. After outlining the core assumptions of CR, the key arguments are elaborated through two case studies which focus on issues of staffing and expatriation. The first case concerns recent developments in the Middle East, highlighting the shifting reality of nationality-based definitions of staffing the MNC, and the second examines the internationalisation of Chinese firms, exploring the way MNCs restructure space to retain access to home-country advantages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-293
Number of pages29
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Chinese MNCs; critical realism; expatriation; Gulf Cooperation Council states; MNC staffing.

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