Research by Dan Caprar, a senior lecturer at The University of Sydney Business School, warned managers heading into foreign territories against the assumption all of their local staff will fit an expected model of belief and behaviour.
He identified four distinct cultural profiles of locals working in a business’s foreign offices. They are:
• Infatuated. These employees hold a favourable point of view toward the business/brand, and may have an idealised perception of what it is like to work in a multinational. They’re likely interested in anything that offers them status over employees of local businesses.
• Converted. Still boasting a healthy attitude toward their employer and the lifestyle represented by its home country, this employee is slightly more detached than the infatuated one. This is not a negative – it means they tend to be well adjusted in their perception of the employer. However, they may somewhat limit interaction with their own culture, preferring their employer’s culture.
• Reconciled. Here is the employee of choice. They are comfortable with the differences between their own culture and that of the organisation’s home country and appreciate the positives of both.
They’re knowledgeable about both cultures, either through the education offered by the business, or from their own research. Most importantly, they retain a powerful connection to their own culture whilst working in the foreign-owned business.
• Conflicted. This staff member is typically dissatisfied and feels somewhat exploited by their foreign employer. Interestingly, they feel shame about their own culture, too.