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Chinese expatriate management in emerging markets: A competitive advantage perspective

Rui, Huaichuan; Zhang, Miao and Shipman, Alan (2017). Chinese expatriate management in emerging markets: A competitive advantage perspective. Journal of International Management, 23(2) pp. 124–138.

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Recent research draws attention to the large number of expatriates sent abroad by Chinese multinational corporations (CMNCs), especially to emerging markets. It is generally assumed that their large number, and any competitive advantage this generates, relate predominantly to their low cost, compared to other MNCs’ expatriates and/or locally available labour. Our research uses an integrative perspective drawing on the resource-based view (RBV), international human resource management (IHRM) and “country of origin” literature and extensive case-study research on 27 CMNCs in 12 emerging markets. This reveals that the competitive advantage created by Chinese expatriates is closely related to the use of expatriates at both managerial and operational levels. It is achieved through human resource management that exploits their relatively lower cost, higher productivity and hardship tolerance (compared to host or third country counterparts) and their knowledge/resource reconfiguration capability, through a centralised and collective expatriation management system. These together enhance CMNCs’ competitive advantage through not only offering cost effective and differentiated products but also transferring the reconfiguration knowledge. This study enhances understanding of the competitiveness of emerging market multinationals (EMNCs) by showing how the competencies, combination and management of their expatriates create a distinct source of competitive advantage. It also advances IHRM research on expatriates by investigating their use from a competitive advantage perspective.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 Elsevier
ISSN: 1075-4253
Keywords: Managerial expatriate; Operational expatriate; Competitive advantage; MNCs; Emerging market; China
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 50751
Depositing User: Alan Shipman
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2017 14:08
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2017 14:08
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