Preparing expatriate managers of multinational organisations for the cultural and learning imperatives of their job in dynamic knowledge-based environments

Ted O'Keeffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose-The purpose of this chapter is to give a framework to the issues that need to be addressed with the advent of the global economy and the realisation that the only lasting competitive advantage is an organisation's ability to effectively exploit intellectual capital. Excellent companies build learning organisations systematically, but in their haste, many firms underestimate the importance of cultural, technological, executive and learning imperatives that permeate dynamic, knowledge- based environments. Learning is a dynamic process between the needs of the individual, its leader, operational environment and the demands of the organisation. Methodology - An initial quantitative study of 101 successful multinational companies with manufacturing facilities in Ireland the findings from which were reinforced by five case studies randomly selected from the ten firms identified from the quantitative research actively developing towards becoming learning organisations. Findings - The findings of the quantitative and qualitative research are undertaken in the development of the learning imperatives presented in the body of the chapter under: Host Location, Culture Shock, Cross-Cultural Understanding, New Technology, Intellectual Capital, Dissatisfaction with the Traditional Management Paradigm, Nature of Global Business, Executive Challenge of Multinational Assignments, Learning Imperatives in Dynamic Multinational Environments. Research implications-The research spanned 18 years and has relevance for all organisations irrespective of size operating in culturally diverse environments or simply planning to expand their operations. Social implications - Are many and varied; however, this chapter, due to word constraints, only examines nine key attributes from the 35 identified. Nevertheless, every one of them will resonate to a greater or lesser extent with leaders from every walk of life. Originality - The research work outlined in this chapter constituted an important element of the author's doctoral thesis, and its primary value is in the manner in which it simplifies complex issues that consciously or unconsciously affect groups or individuals in their respective working environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-247
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Business and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Business development
  • Cultural imperatives
  • Expatriate secondments
  • Globalisation
  • Intellectual capital
  • Learning organisations


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