Different from Expatriates: Foreign Executives in Local Organisations (FELOs)

2011 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, August 12-16, 2011

Posted: 28 Mar 2011

See all articles by Frithjof Arp

Frithjof Arp

Nottingham University Business School; Monash University - Department of Management

Kate Hutchings

Queensland University of Technology - School of Management

Wendy Anne Smith

Independent

Date Written: January 10, 2011

Abstract

This paper introduces an international cross-cultural workplace phenomenon that has not been systematically researched: Foreign Executives in Local Organisations (FELOs) of culturally distant countries. Significant differences to expatriates in the foreign subsidiaries of multinational organisations are identified and discussed. This research employs a qualitative exploratory approach using data sourced from in-depth semi-structured interviews with foreign executives (n=46) from 13 countries and their host-country colleagues (n=25), in organisations founded and headquartered in Malaysia. Dyadic data is used to triangulate findings, while nondyadic and socio-biographical data add further insight. The findings highlight that the FELO phenomenon is significantly different from expatriation in that, while issues of allegiance, trust and control are core to both, they also explain the rarity of FELOs. Only FELOs with significant levels of host-country involvement remain in their positions beyond temporary roles. The research makes a significant theoretical contribution to extant literature as it explores a cross-cultural workplace phenomenon that has been described in media and executive search firm publications as ‘fairly new, highly visible, and sometimes controversial’ with demand for FELOs in Asia ‘likely to continue’.

Keywords: Foreign Executive, Local Organisation, Cross-Cultural Management, Malaysia

Suggested Citation

Arp, Frithjof and Hutchings, Kate and Smith, Wendy Anne, Different from Expatriates: Foreign Executives in Local Organisations (FELOs) (January 10, 2011). 2011 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, August 12-16, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1794644

Frithjof Arp (Contact Author)

Nottingham University Business School ( email )

199 Taikang East Road
Ningbo, 315100
China

HOME PAGE: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Frithjof_Arp

Monash University - Department of Management

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3168
Australia

Kate Hutchings

Queensland University of Technology - School of Management ( email )

Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia
(07) 38641251 (Phone)

Wendy Anne Smith

Independent ( email )

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