How you see me, how you don't: ethnic identity self-verification in interactions between local subsidiary employees and ethnically similar expatriates

Fan, Shea X. and Harzing, Anne-Wil and Köhler, Tine (2018) How you see me, how you don't: ethnic identity self-verification in interactions between local subsidiary employees and ethnically similar expatriates. The International Journal of Human Resource Management . ISSN 0958-5192 (Published online first)

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Abstract

Multinational corporations often assign expatriates who share an ethnicity with host country employees (termed ethnically similar expatriates) to work on international assignments. Although sharing an ethnicity with local employees can be an advantage, it also creates a unique identity challenge. In this article, we develop the argument that ethnic similarity might in fact threaten expatriate-local employee interactions if the two parties hold divergent views towards the importance of expatriates’ ethnic identity in their interactions. Drawing on self-verification theory, we explain why people desire to achieve congruence between how they view their own identity and how others view this identity.

Subsequently, we identify key cultural and personal constraints affecting expatriates’ efforts to achieve ethnic identity self-verification. We also illustrate how unfulfilled ethnic identity self-verification affects ethnically similar expatriates, local employees and their interactions. Our study, thus, introduces a new angle to understand expatriate-local employee interactions and advances self-verification research by demonstrating the challenges in achieving ethnic identity self-verification when two social parties share an ethnicity.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School > International Management and Innovation > International and Cross-cultural Management group
Item ID: 23641
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The International Journal of Human Resource Management on 20/03/2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09585192.2018.1448294
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Anne-Wil Harzing
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2018 17:43
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2018 19:37
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/23641

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