International Hotel Manager as an Emerging Concept: A Review of Expatriate Management Literature and a Model Proposal
Ozdemir, Bahattin, Cizel, Rabia Bato, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Focusing on the concept of international hotel manager, the overall aim of this article is to build up a connection between issues in the generic literature of expatriate management and the notion of international hotel manager. In this sense, the study begins with a review of expatriate management literature in order to illustrate emerging issues. Interpretation of findings of literature search suggests that it is possible to identify four distinct groups of articles referring to (a) adaptation to different cultures, (b) human resource management (HRM) in the context of expatriate managers, (c) women expatriate managers, and (d) other related issues. The review of hospitality management literature, on the other hand, reveals that studies focus particularly on the definition of the international hotel manager concept and identification of skills and competencies of effective international hotel managers. Fallowing this theoretical foundation, a process-based model for international hotel managers is proposed. This model is constituted by 4 main stages, including recruitment and selection, predeparture preparation, foreign assignment, and repatriation. Consequently, it can be suggested that this article highlights the crucial importance of the international hotel manager as an emerging concept, and reveals future research opportunities.
In an era characterised by the acceleration of globalisation, international management issues have begun to play a more central role in business practice. Many firms engage more in international activities, with the motivation of increasing sales on the one hand and decreasing costs and risks on the other (Daniels et al., 2001). Moreover, the same motives also lead hotel firms to operate in an international context and expand their international activities through various internationalisation forms that include strategic alliances, acquisitions, hotel consortia, mergers, direct ownerships, joint ventures, management contracts and franchising (D'Annunzio-Green, 1997; Gannon & Johnson, 1997). As globalisation of the industry is inevitable, there is a strong need for hotel businesses to commit themselves to internationalisation (Geller, 1998).
In this context, it is not surprising to observe that many hotel firms seek wide geographical coverage to grow and prosper beyond the confines of domestic markets (Brotherton & Adler, 1999), and strive to achieve and sustain a global competitive advantage (Roper, Brookes, & Hampton, 1999). Consequently, transnational and/or multinational hotel companies are increasingly dominating the international hotel market (Wu, Costa, & Teare, 1998) and playing a key role in the development and continuity of the international tourism industry (Kusluvan & Karamustafa, 2001). In the literature of hospitality business, internationalisation has become one of the key preoccupations, and new books, articles and courses bearing the word 'international' in their titles abound (Burgess, Hampton, Price, & Roper, 1995).
The internationalisation efforts of hotel firms inherently engender some managerial problems, such as the question of who will effectively manage properties in markets where the firms have little or no prior experience (Shay & Tracey, 1997). Hence, it has been recognised that there is a strong need for a different type of manager, who possesses some additional and diverse competencies, rather than a national manager whose responsibilities are limited to operating domestic facilities.
Against the background presented above, the aim of this article is to emphasise the concept of international hotel manager as an emerging notion and to identify related issues through a review of the broad literature on expatriate management. Given the aim of the study, the flow of the topics throughout the article will be as follows: (a) the article begins with a comprehensive literature review on expatriate manager, (b) proceeds with another review on international and expatriate hotel managers, (c) on this theoretical foundation a model is proposed for the management of international hotel managers and, (d) finally, a discussion section and further research suggestions are provided.
The Literature of Expatriate Manager
As the growth of demand for expatriates has been accelerated by globalisation (Hardill & McDonald, 1998), increasing number of managers are appointed to overseas assignments (Jasawalla, Connolly, & Slojkowski, 2004), which have become typical stages in a managerial career (Suutari, Raharjo, & Mikkila, 2002). One of the viewpoints that is frequently stressed in the literature is the competitive advantage gained through expatriate managers who can operate firms' overseas facilities effectively. This theme is also echoed by Harvey (1996), who contends that only the global organisations that staff key positions with skilled expatriate leaders compete successfully in the global marketplace. Reinforcing this viewpoint Fisher and Hartel (2003) note that
... expatriates who perform poorly in their overseas assignments cost multinational enterprises billions of dollars, damage firm reputation, disrupt relationships with local nationals, and often exact a cost on expatriates' psychological well-being. (p. 4)
Moreover, according to Beamish, Morrison, Rosenzweig and Inkpen (2000) the failure of international firms may be partly attributed to executives who are not well prepared for their foreign assignments, as well as improper strategies or structures. Another viewpoint highlighted by Brooklyn and Gary (1993) is that multinational companies should not only implement an internationalisation strategy for their managers, but also find ways to expedite it, in order to sustain their competitiveness.
Given the concerns noted above, some of the studies in the literature attempt to identify skills and abilities possessed by an effective international or expatriate manager. For example, a detailed approach is offered by Contractor (2000), who posits that for an effective foreign assignment, an expatriate manager should perform at least four types of activities, including:
* arbitrage that affects commodity, labour and finished product market
* foreign market entry or internationalisation process
* reducing the regulatory, economic or social barriers
* the transfer of firm-specific advantages to other locations.
Alternatively, Beamish et al. (2000) gives a list of skills for an effective expatriate manager as the ability
* to develop and use global strategic skills
* to manage change and transition
* to manage cultural diversity
* to design and function in flexible organisation structures
* to work with others and in teams
* to communicate
* to learn and transfer knowledge.
Besides attempts to identify expatriates' skills, the literature also comprises many studies focusing on the association of different variables in the concept of the international or expatriate manager. For example, in classifying the international management literature, Werner (2002) defined 12 distinct topics in which expatriate management has emerged as a separate entity. According to Werner's classification, this concept consists of subtopics, such as expatriate human resource management, issues for expatriates, and expatriates' and repatriates' reactions.
In this article, a literature review about the expatriate manager concept was performed in order to illustrate emerging issues. The selected literature includes academic and practitioner articles concerned with expatriate managers that have been published in various journals. The Ebscohost, ProQuest, Science Direct and Emerald Library databases were accessed for articles that met the search criterion; articles were chosen if the term 'international manager' or 'expatriate manager' was found in the title or was in the keyword list of the article. Consequently, a large number of articles were accessed; however, considering the space constraints, only articles published since 2000 were included in the following section.
A closer examination of findings from the literature search reveals that it is possible to identify four distinct groups of articles with respect to the focus of each study. These were designated as adaptation to different cultures, human resource management (HRM) in the context of expatriate managers, women expatriate managers, and other related issues, respectively. Before describing each group and related studies, it is important to note that these groups do not constitute a definitive classification of the body of the expatriate management literature, as no formal coding method was used. Instead, the aim of the classification below is to provide an organising tool.
Adaptation to Different Cultures
There is a considerable body of articles that focus strictly on adaptation of expatriates to different cultures. More specifically, this group of articles includes studies on effectiveness and performance of expatriate managers in a foreign culture (e.g., Fisher & Hartel, 2003; Lichia & Saner, 2000; Sugiura & Pirola-Merb, 2003); comparison of adjustment of expatriate managers (e.g., Selmer, 2002; Selmer, Eric, Lewis, & Corinna, 2003); factors affecting adjustment of expatriate managers (e.g., Morley & Flynn, 2003); cross-cultural management training (e.g., Harris & Kumra, 2000; Mendenball & Stahl, 2000; Morris & Robie, 2001; Orpen, 2003); cross-cultural skills (e.g., Hutchings, 2002; Selmer and Lain, 2004); local cultural values (e.g., Kennedy, 2002); socialisation tactics of expatriate managers (e.g., Selmer, 2001a); and dimensions of adjustment of expatriate managers (e.g., Selmer, 2001b; …
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Publication information: Article title: International Hotel Manager as an Emerging Concept: A Review of Expatriate Management Literature and a Model Proposal. Contributors: Ozdemir, Bahattin - Author, Cizel, Rabia Bato - Author. Journal title: Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Volume: 14. Issue: 2 Publication date: August 2007. Page number: 170+. © 2008 Australian Academic Press Pty. Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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