Although it is well established in the current staffing literature that why and how multinational enterprises (MNEs) allocate more or fewer expatriates in some subsidiaries than others, little is known about why and how some MNEs utilize more or fewer expatriates than other MNEs. This paper builds on regionalization theory to argue that intra- and inter-regional diversification has to do with the overall use of expatriates in MNEs. An empirical investigation of Korean MNEs demonstrates that the degree of intra- and inter-regional diversification has significant impacts on the level of expatriate utilization by MNEs. The results also reveal an interesting moderating influence of subsidiary value chain activities. MNEs tend to vigorously adjust their use of expatriates in downstream subsidiaries depending on the degree of intra- and inter-regional diversification. However, they do not adjust their use of expatriates in manufacturing subsidiaries upon the degree of international diversification. Overall, this study extends our understanding of how MNEs manage a geographically dispersed organization in a semi-globalized world.
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© 2019 Elsevier Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management