Inpatriation in a Globalising MNC: Knowledge Exchange and Translation of Corporate Culture

Martine Cardel Gertsen, Anne-Marie Søderberg

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    his paper draws on a qualitative case study of inpatriation in a globalising multinational company headquartered in Denmark. Based on analysis of in–depth interviews with inpatriates from the Peoples Republic of China, the USA, Brazil and Japan, we discuss their experiences at headquarters. We focus on the potential of inpatriates as mediators of knowledge flows between headquarters and subsidiaries. Although the inpatriates knowledge is seemingly not exploited in a systematic manner, they are well situated to act as boundary spanners, and also as cultural mediators. The inpatriates perceptions of the case company's corporate values of openness, empowerment and work–life balance point to their potential as mediators when developing a global companys corporate culture and translating it to various cultural contexts. We also touch upon the roles that an HR department plays in inpatriate assignments, and finally, we discuss the implications of our study for new HR initiatives and future research.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Journal of International Management
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)29-44
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Boundary Spanning
    • Corporate Culture
    • Corporate Values
    • Cultural Translation
    • Empowerment
    • Globalisation
    • Headquarters-Subsidiary Relationships
    • Inpatriation
    • International Assignments
    • International HRM
    • Human Resource Management
    • Knowledge Exchange
    • Learning
    • Work-Life Balance
    • Denmark
    • China
    • USA
    • Brazil
    • Japan
    • United States
    • Knowledge Flows
    • Openness
    • Working Abroad

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