Toward a better understanding of MNEs’ local staffing decision: a multilevel analysis

Youjin Baik, Young Ryeol Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to address the question of how regional diversification affects subsidiary staffing composition in multinational enterprises. Another important objective of this study is to examine the effects of institutional distance, specifically regulative and normative distances, on foreign subsidiary staffing composition. Design/methodology/approach – To estimate firm- and country-level parameters simultaneously, hierarchical linear modeling was conducted on a sample of 1,068 foreign subsidiaries of South Korean firms operating in 25 countries in 2014. Findings – The results reveal that intra-regional diversification has a positive effect, whereas inter-regional diversification has a negative effect on local staffing in foreign subsidiaries. In addition, there is a positive association between informal distance (such as normative distance) and local staffing of foreign subsidiaries, while formal distance (such as regulative distance) is negatively related to local staffing of foreign subsidiaries. Research limitations/implications – The cross-sectional nature of the data in this study may preclude examination of the relationships among institutional distance, institutional environment, and subsidiary staffing composition. The authors suggest that future researchers employ a longitudinal design to examine the effects on staffing composition of institutional distance and institutional environments over time. Originality/value – The paper contributes to the literature on international human resources management by highlighting the importance of combining multilevel parameters to improve assessment of the importance of firms’ competitive strategy and institutional environments in local staffing in foreign subsidiaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2321-2338
Number of pages18
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 16

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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