The global competition among states to attract and retain highly skilled and ever more mobile labor has become a subject of increasing scholarship and policy analysis. However, little attention has been paid to private organizations such as multinational corporations (MNCs) that send their "best and brightest" employees on long-term overseas assignments. These sending organizations are active players in the process of highly skilled migration—players that have invested valuable resources in the pursuit of sending their employees where they want, when they want. This article explores the evolving justification structures that explain why MNCs send their key employees on expatriate assignments. Over time, these corporations developed successive strategies for managing the expansion of their business operations beyond the borders of their home countries, each strategy providing different concepts of what an expatriated manager should be and do. The current "global corporation" model acknowledges the necessity of expatriate assignments. Highly skilled migration is viewed as an integral element in the development of the type of cosmopolitan worker now believed necessary to build a culturally sensitive organization—migration that corporate leaders regard as an existential imperative in today's hyper-competitive global marketplace.


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pp. 19-42
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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Ceased Publication
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