Host-Country Organizations and Expatriate Managers in Europe

by Ehud Harari, Yoram Zeira



Certain patterns of behavior of expatriate managers, as well as ethnocentrism on the part of both expatriate and host-country organizations' (HCOs) managers, are major impediments to the achievement of fit between multinational corporations (MNCs) and HCOs in Western Europe. Attitude surveys of HCOs interacting with foreign subsidiaries are an essential step toward the achievement of this fit. Despite widespread doubts among headquarter (HQ) officials and expatriate managers, the experience proves that such surveys are both essential and feasible. They are feasible because HCOs believe that facilitating effective relations with expatriate managers will promote their own interests. Such attitude contrasts with expatriate managers' tendency to overestimate the conflict of interests between subsidiaries and HCOs and underestimate the mutuality of interests existing between the two. However, HCO attitude surveys are useful only when they constitute a basis for planned change efforts in the field of personal interactions among expatriate managers, HQ officials, host-country subordinates and HCOs The importance of developing a fit between expatriate managers and HCO representatives is not limited to the interpersonal or interorganizational levels.

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