Emerging market MNEs' expatriate Management

Huaichuan Rui, Miao Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Existing research draws attention to the large number of expatriate sent abroad by Chinese multinational corporations (CMNCs), especially to emerging markets, where they are assumed to exploit cheap labour, natural resources and the strong host-government support available for CMNCs. Our research, based on case studies of 27 CMNCs in 14 emerging markets, reveals broader motives and mechanisms by which CMNCs have used expatriates as a main human resource (HR) strategy to achieve competitive advantage in emerging markets. Expatriates reduce cost, speed up projects, improve services and reconfigure CMNCs’ existing knowledge to fit the needs and conditions of emerging markets. We trace these advantages to special characteristics of Chinese expatriates - who tend to be more hardworking, obedient and flexible than local or other MNC counterparts, and expatriate management practice, including tight control, use of monetary and non-monetary incentives and collective support. Our study supports the mainstream argument that expatriates facilitate knowledge transfer and create competitive advantage for MNCs, but contribute to this stream of research by showing that MNCs from emerging markets are able to create competitive advantage through transferring relevant knowledge by their expatriates at both managerial and operational levels. This study also advances our understanding of competitiveness of EMNCs, which is one of the theoretically and practically frontier topics relating to emerging market firms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of International Business 2016 conference proceeding
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Mar 2016

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