Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. W. Glenn Rowe

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul W. Beamish

Third Advisor

Dr. Shih-Fen Chen


Deployment of expatriates in international subsidiaries can be a complex issue for multinational enterprises (MNEs). The global environment is increasingly integrated across national borders, and yet there remain critical differences among national environments. Consequently, expatriate employees can be an important resource as MNEs try to make sense of, and enact, their environments across the globe. This study focuses on the changes in deployment of expatriates in international subsidiaries as a window into understanding MNE parent-subsidiary issues in a dynamic manner. Most extant research has considered the MNE expatriate deployment phenomena in a static manner, in line with research on international subsidiaries which typically focuses on the initial point (subsidiary founding) and termination point (subsidiary exit) of the subsidiary but rarely investigates the evolutionary changes that take place between these two points. The present study is consistent with a more evolutionary view of international subsidiaries and focuses on changes in expatriate deployment as a critical part of these evolutionary changes. The theoretical development utilizes the resource-based view. Changes in the proportion of expatriates deployed at the subsidiary level are conceptualized as changes in the resource combination of the subsidiary, initiated by the MNE parent. These changes are associated with the control, coordination and knowledge-transfer aspects of the parentsubsidiary relationship, which are of prime concern in MNE expatriate deployment literature. The deployment of expatriates as critical resources is modeled over time iii conditional upon organizational and environmental factors. The key questions investigated are: What are the patterns of expatriate deployment over time? What conditions impact inter-subsidiary differences in these deployment patterns? What are the implications of these changes in expatriate deployment on subsidiary performance over time? The first stage of research comprised an exploratory qualitative analysis involving semistructured interviews with executives having direct familiarity with the phenomenon. The second stage of research involved quantitative analysis using longitudinal data, and introduced latent curve modeling using a structured equations modeling approach to the MNE subsidiary evolution literature. Results indicate that the pattern of expatriate deployment over time is conditional upon subsidiary, parent MNE and environmental factors. Further, the pattern of expatriate deployment over time has an impact on the pattern of subsidiary performance over time. This research has implications for understanding the deployment of resources over time and their impact on organizational evolution. Specifically, it adds to the analysis of MNE resources in host country competitive environments through a focus on expatriate deployment over time in the MNE context. More generally, the findings have implications for the role of key employees as critical resources in organizational evolution over time.



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