International human resource training in Swedish MNCs: three case studies

MNCs today operate in a complex and uncertain environment which requires them to devote increased attention to international human resource management (IHRM) as well as training of international managers. The purpose of this study is to gain deeper understanding of Swedish MNCs’ international human resource (IHR) training in the context of MNC strategy and international human resource training programs addressing expatriates and host country nationals (HCNs). To reach our purpose we have chosen a qualitative and descriptive approach and conducted three in-depth telephone interviews with international human resource personnel at Swedish divisions of MNCs ABB, Atlas Copco and Sandvik. Findings show that Swedish MNCs focus attention to similar aspects within IHR training and that differences were greater regarding the companies expatriate training programs. IHR training within Swedish MNCs greatly emphasises continuous competence development, knowledge sharing, and implementation of core values necessary to attract, develop and maintain qualified and motivated people. Another important finding is that the IHR strategy and corporate strategy must be linked in order for either one to be successful. Furthermore, IHR in Swedish MNCs puts little or no focus on specific training for host-country nationals (HCNs). Regarding expatriate training programs the study showed that cross- cultural training (CCT) is used to some extent as well as language training and pre-departure visits.

Author: Eriksson, Sara; Köbin, Ulrika

Source: Luleå University of Technology

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