Sarah Kunz
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Towards a new breed of expatriate manager in international business
in Expatriate
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Chapter 3 traces the emergence of the expatriate in 1960s and 1970s anglophone international human resource management (IHRM) literature, a burgeoning academic field that accompanied the US ascendancy of its day. IHRM scholarship recognised the seminal challenge of decolonisation and, the chapter argues, academics self-consciously carved out their role and relevance in the post-war US imperial project. They did so by positioning the expatriate as a vital yet troublesome figure of multinational business that needed to be carefully selected, thoroughly trained, cautiously positioned, appropriately compensated and successfully repatriated – all of which required the support of scholarship. This also involved translating discourses of white supremacy and the immature native into management knowledge to sanctify the asymmetrical power relations that characterised multinational business. This history is rendered invisible by more recent IHRM literature that largely ignores the imperial roots of its research object and of its own role as knowledge producer.

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