Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Effects of Individual, Organizational and Societal Variables on the Job Performance of Expatriate Managers

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Effects of Individual, Organizational and Societal Variables on the Job Performance of Expatriate Managers

Article excerpt

A major focus of expatriate performance management research has been to look at predictors of expatriate job performance and the link between employee adjustment and performance. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to knowledge and practice by identifying predictors of expatriate job performance. Integrating three distinct streams of empirical research on performance of international assignees (at the individual, organizational and societal levels) and six streams of theoretical explanation (personality theory, cultural adjustment theory, person-environment fit theory, social capital-network theory, cultural theory, and institutional theory), we develop a conceptual framework that looks at multiple predictors of expatriate adjustment and job performance, from which a number of hypotheses are derived for future research. We conclude by discussing implications for future research in this expanding area of human resource management.

Introduction

Global performance management has been receiving increased academic attention in recent years as evidenced by the publication of a book on the topic (Varma et al., 2008), a special issue of the Europe an Journal of International Management (Claus & Briscoe, 2008), a state of the field review in the International Journal of Management Review (Claus & Briscoe, 2009a) and a special symposium at the International HR conference (Claus & Briscoe, 2009b). Academic research on international performance management has maintained a dual focus: (1) the management of performance of employees of a multinational enterprise operating around the world (referred to as global performance management); and (2) the performance management of international assignees (referred to as expatriate performance management). While there is a well established body of knowledge in the U.S. literature on performance management, how these findings extend to the evaluation of the performance of international assignees is much less robust. It has been pointed out that the context in which the international assignees fulfill their job expectations and perform is far more complex in an international environment than a domestic one (Gregersen & Hite, 1 996; Suutari & Tahvanamen, 2002). This is mainly due to the unfamiliar environment in which that job must be done. Hence, a particular focus of expatriate performance management research is looking at predictors of expatriate job performance and the link between employee adjustment and performance (Black & Gregersen, 1991a; 1991b; Caligiuri, 2000; Caligiuri& Lazarova, 2002.). In previous empirical research on expatriate performance management, we can discern three distinct streams of research, each focusing on a different level of analysis. The first stream is at the individual (macro) level and focuses on personality and personal characteristics of international assignees. The second stream is at the organizational level and focuses on organizational contextual characteristics and HR processes. The third stream focuses on the societal (macro level) and the much broader cultural and institutional context of expatriate performance management. All three levels of analysis have informed our evidence-based understanding and global HR practice.

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the international HR body of knowledge and practice by identifying predictors of expatriate j ob performance. Several theoretical perspectives have been used in previous research on expatriate performance management. Building on this research, we have developed an eclectic conceptual framework that looks at multiple predictors of expatriate adjustment and job performance at the various micro, meso and macro levels of analysis. From this conceptual framework, we developed a multiple hypotheses.

We make a number of important contributions to the body of knowledge by integrating three different levels of analysis into a coherent framework and systematically proposing a number of hypotheses at each level as well as at the interplay level. …

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