نمایی از میدان : یک مطالعه موردی از نقش مرزگستری خارج از کشور
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21606||2010||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11273 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of World Business, Volume 45, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 29–40
Research suggests growing interest in the boundary-spanning role played by expatriates in supporting organizational learning and adaptation in uncertain environments. However, efforts to examine this role have relied on conceptual frameworks that have not been empirically grounded. This exploratory case study of 79 expatriates in the field applies a qualitative methodology to elaborate and extend current conceptualizations of the boundary role to the work of the expatriate. Findings suggest that interpersonal relationships may be the cornerstones of the role and the enablers of other cross-boundary resource exchanges.
In today's global economy, organizations are increasingly establishing an international presence and relying on expatriate staff to manage or transfer skills to their international operations. Research suggests that these enterprises, both public and private, encounter challenges operating in unfamiliar environments, including difficulties in dealing with governments and local partners, managing local staff, or in tailoring products and services to local tastes cultures, and business systems (Lord & Ranft, 2000). The need to adapt to dispersed and uncertain task environments thus seems a challenge faced by virtually all international organizations. Thompson (1967) maintains that, under conditions of uncertainty, organizations adapt by increasing their linkages with the external environment to support the inward flow of information and to exert outward control over clients, suppliers, partners, and others in their task environments. Conceptually, these linkages occur at inter-organizational boundaries, and are effected wherever organizational members engage in transactions with external agents (Kahn et al., 1964 and Organ, 1971). It is through the agency of such boundary-spanning employees that the organization is able to gather local intelligence and exert influence over external constituents in pursuit of organizational objectives (Adams, 1976 and Thompson, 1967). Given the strategic importance to the international organization of forging linkages with the local environment, it would seem that the boundary-spanning role would be the focus of a good deal of attention in the expatriate literature. Although the literature has addressed what appear to be aspects of the boundary role, rarely has the research been framed from the theoretical perspective of the role. Research on knowledge management, for example, has attended to the informational aspects of the expatriate's role in the transfer of knowledge across boundaries ( Hocking et al., 2007 and Nigel, 2002). Research taken from the social network perspective has recognized the role of the expatriate in establishing informal networks ( Harzing, 2001 and Michailova and Worm, 2003). Caligiuri (1997), in developing a model of expatriate performance, included such indicators as the ability to represent the organization to customers, transfer information to the parent company, and develop rapport with host nationals. These varied topics clearly reflect boundary activities, but have not been framed as such. It would appear that the expatriate's responsibility for linking the organization to the host country is so central a part of the job that researchers have taken its boundary-spanning component as given, and have begun to examine isolated aspects of the role without adequate theoretical development of the boundary-spanning construct itself. Where research has explicitly applied a boundary-spanning framework to the work of the expatriate (e.g., Au and Fukuda, 2002 and Thomas, 1994), it has relied on typologies of the boundary role (Ancona and Caldwell, 1988 and Ancona and Caldwell, 1992) derived from observations of product development teams working across internal organizational boundaries. The suitability of these typologies to the complex work of the expatriate across external boundaries has not been empirically established. Indeed, the international management literature has exhibited a relatively low level of interest in micro-level phenomena in general. Werner (2002), in a review of 271 international management articles published in top tier journals between 1996 and 2000, identified only 16 that had used the individual expatriate as the unit of analysis. Of these, the majority focussed on cultural adjustment and withdrawal intentions. Studies addressing work-related behaviours were comparatively rare. We therefore know little about the nature of the boundary role in international settings or what individual employees might need in order to be effective in this role. This exploratory case study applies a qualitative methodology to elaborate and extend current conceptualizations of the boundary role to the special case of the international assignment. A boundary role framework may provide the theoretical umbrella needed to view the broader spectrum of boundary activities in which the expatriate engages, and may expand the criterion space (Harrison & Shaffer, 2005) for measuring expatriate performance. In turn, the framework may suggest mechanisms for supporting expatriates in their linking roles abroad and respond to recent calls for greater attention to individual-level phenomena in international management research (Au and Fukuda, 2002, Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1991, Birkinshaw, 1997 and Werner, 2002), and, in particular, to the actual work behaviours of the expatriate while on assignment (Harrison & Shaffer, 2005).