Cultural generalists and cultural specialists: Examining the international experience portfolios of subsidiary executives in multinational firms

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Marketa Rickley, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: On the basis of the observation that today’s executives increasingly possess significant international experiences, this study of foreign subsidiary executive staffing strategies looks beyond the local/expatriate dichotomy and shifts the theoretical and empirical focus from executive nationality to a more nuanced examination of subsidiary executives’ international experience portfolios. The intended contribution of this study is to explore the relationship between home country–host country institutional differences and the quantity and quality of subsidiary executives’ previous international experience. I draw on executive cognition theory and the literature on international experience to hypothesize that variety and specificity of previous educational and professional international experiences facilitate subsidiary executives’ abilities to manage liabilities of foreignness arising from institutional distance. The findings indicate a positive relationship between home country–host country institutional distance and the presence of subsidiary executives with higher duration, count, and variety of international experiences. However, the findings provide no statistical evidence of higher levels of institutional distance being associated with a higher presence of subsidiary executives with specific international experiences that are relevant to the home country–host country pair.

Additional Information

Journal of Management, 45(2), 384-416.
Language: English
Date: 2019
multinational companies (MNCs), international experience, subsidiary executives, managerial cognition, liabilities of foreignness

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