Balancing global and local strategic contexts: Expatriate knowledge transfer, applications, and learning within a transnational organization

J. Barry Hocking*, Michelle Brown, Anne-Wil Harzing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

We investigate how expatriates contribute to the transnational firm's strategic objectives of global efficiency, national ("local") responsiveness, and worldwide learning. We focus on expatriate knowledge application and experiential learning achievements, two assignment-based outcomes of potential strategic value to the firm. We assess how the individual's everyday knowledge access and communication activities, measured by frequency and geographic extent, affect these assignment outcomes. Within our case organization, a prototype transnational firm, we find that expatriate knowledge applications result from frequent knowledge access and communication with the corporate headquarters and other global units of the firm. In contrast, their experiential learning derives from frequent access to host-country (local) knowledge that subsequently is adapted to the global corporate context From a practical perspective, we conclude that experiential learning is an invaluable resource for both present and future corporate assignments. (C) 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-533
Number of pages21
JournalHuman Resource Management
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • MULTINATIONAL-CORPORATIONS
  • INFORMATION
  • PERSPECTIVE
  • NETWORKS
  • COMMUNICATION
  • SUBSIDIARIES
  • CAPABILITY
  • CREATION

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