Social capital, language and host country nationals (HCNs) as global talent

Kuki, M.B., Kirk, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-8371-1590 and Ridgway, M. ORCID: 0000-0003-4426-6516, 2021. Social capital, language and host country nationals (HCNs) as global talent. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 8 (4), pp. 370-386. ISSN 2051-6614

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Purpose: In expatriate-reliant countries, the challenge of attracting and retaining overseas talent remains, despite the COVID-19 global pandemic restricting international travel. Expatriates depend on formal organizational and host country national (HCN) support to facilitate their adjustment when moving abroad. To date, there has been a limited focus on the centrality of language in spanning boundaries between HCNs and expatriates that enables bridges to be formed. This study explored how language influences the social capital accrual and the support received by expatriates from HCNs.

Design/methodology/approach: Rooted in social constructionism, the authors used semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 20 Nigerian HCNs from two Italian organizations in the construction industry.

Findings: The findings highlight how language is key to effective social capital bridging and show how HCNs act as boundary spanners between local talent and expatriates on assignment. In this study, HCNs have superior language skills and can thus fill the semantic void in communication between the two parties. It emerged that expatriates receive more significant support and higher levels of social capital accrual than HCNs from this relationship.

Practical implications: Consideration should be given to providing formal language training to both expatriates and HCNs. Embedding networking relationships, such as buddying schemes or reverse mentoring, would enhance the social capital of both parties and improve performance. In addition, global talent management policies should be adjusted to provide definitive career paths and clearer promotion criteria for HCNs.

Originality/value: The authors find that through their language ability, HCNs may have more power over expatriates than previously considered, repositioning their status from a talent perspective. The authors argue that expatriates should not be considered by organizations the only source of global talent in such a context, and that organizations need to offer more definitive talent policies and support that accounts for both expatriates and HCNs.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance
Creators: Kuki, M.B., Kirk, S. and Ridgway, M.
Publisher: Emerald
Date: 26 October 2021
Volume: 8
Number: 4
ISSN: 2051-6614
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 11 Feb 2022 09:23
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2022 09:23

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