18 Two types of ambiguities allowed the expatriate managers to reinterpret

18 two types of ambiguities allowed the expatriate

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Two types of ambiguities allowed the expatriate managers to reinterpret diversity management approaches. First, the paradox between global integration and local responsiveness made it unclear for corporate diversity officials to estimate the necessity for local adjustments. Secondly, since the subsidiary workforce was generally recruited outside Saudi-Arabia, the term local responsiveness became an ambiguous term referring sometimes to cultural norms of workers from South East Asia, Egypt, and the Philippines and sometimes to the Saudi legal system. Such ambiguities allowed expatriate managers to use different global and local ideals strategically in forming a diversity management practice that fitted their personal preferences. Hence, it was not only variations between different countries’ legal systems and cultural values that guided adjustments of policies and practices, the subsidiary management was also in a position to actively produce a specific diversity model . Conclusion Very few studies have focused on diversity management in international MNCs . Hence, this study contributes to theory development by providing an analysis of issues related to transfer of diversity approaches between headquarters and subsidiaries. From the findings of this article it becomes clear that international diversity management is different from domestic diversity management mainly due to the global integration vs. local responsiveness paradox. Moreover, ambiguities originating from the complexity of the international context make it difficult for corporate diversity officials to monitor diversity management reinterpretation and implementation efforts in local units. Finally, this ambiguity can be used by dominating agents to pursue what benefits themselves or certain parts of the organization at the expense of less powerful minorities . This study has also demonstrated that a specific organizational unit in a large MNC is able to produce a specific diversity approach independent of corporate policies Limitations and future research There are some clear limitations to the presented study. It is a highly explorative qualitative investigation based on data from only one host country in only one location, involving relatively few expatriate managers and TCNs assigned by only one business firm. Hence, the possibilities of generalizing the findings to subsidiaries under other circumstances could be limited. On the other hand, the central issues at stake in this study including global integration and local responsiveness as well as group categorization and power relations are general to 19
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most headquarters-subsidiary relations. In consequence, although the results may be less outspoken in other contexts, the findings of this study have potential relevance to most processes involving the transfer of diversity management practices to MNC subsidiaries.
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