Desktop version

Home arrow Management

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Inpatriation: Connecting Periphery and Core

It might be worthwhile to point out that ‘ expatriation’ literally means to take individuals out from what they regard as their home (Latin, pater = father) country. Similarly, ‘inpatriation’ moves the person in to what will become his or her new ‘fatherland.’ Although these terms are commonly used in the GTM literature, they raise an interesting question for MNCs: To what extent does the MNC believe that there is a single dominant country in their global operations? Put another way, does the organization see itself as essentially a unified and holistic entity or as a federation of discrete and different units with the organization’s headquarters being dominant?

Intrafirm talent flow from what might be regarded as the ‘periphery’ of the MNC toward the organizational center is a relatively recent phenomenon [77, 78]. As has been noted, the older notion of outward-bound expatriation placed significance on the exercise of control of the organizational headquarters over its more distant units. Inward inpatriation does not revolve around issues of control; instead, it revolves around issues of organizational inclusiveness and diversity.

Inpatriation recognizes that inbound organizational members possess different knowledge and understanding, and that their talents that can contribute to the corporation’s core. Reiche [8], for example, notes that ‘inpatriates can be more effective knowledge conduits by highlighting the importance of their cross-unit boundary spanning for knowledge transfer’ (p. 383). Further, as Reiche et al. [79] argue since inpatriates have an ‘intimate understanding of both the HQ and the local subsidiary context ... they are able to cross existing intra-organizational, cultural, and communications boundaries to diffuse information’ (p. 160).

Inpatriation and expatriation are in many ways symmetrical, with inpatriation reflecting all of the challenges associated with expatriation. The incomer—similar to the expatriate—may well experience language and cultural difficulties, be treated as a member of an out-group, disadvantaged in demonstrating the talent potential that he/she truly possesses, and lack the interpersonal trust of those that he/she works with [80, 81]. Just as with expatriates, incoming organizational participants may also have to deal with the difficulties of acculturation and stress in the new position, and with adapting to a ‘new’ corporation, even though it ostensibly has the same organizational culture as the unit from which they have come [82, 83].

Inpatriation and expatriation provide significant flows of talent throughout the MNC. They present opportunities for the redistribution and reassignment of talent. They bring relevant skills, competencies, and experience to places in the organization where they can be most effectively utilized. Talent mobility is also connected to new learning possibilities, allowing for the transfer of new knowledge and understandings when employees have completed their assignments.

HR initiated transfers require considerable resources and support for the transferred individual. However, they also provide a sense of continuity, community, and extensiveness within the organization—outcomes that have organizational value, even though the extent of that value might be difficult to quantify. Although there are probably more substantial benefits to be derived from long-term transitions, short-term stays and rotations can generate significant organization and personal value [84, 85].

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics