German Carmakers and the Financial Crisis - Changing patterns of Cross-Border Personnel Mobility?

Type de publication:



Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2011)


cross-border personnel mobility, financial crisis, German Car Makers


In times of increasing border crossing flows and relationships, usually summed up under the term ‘globalization’, the coordination of international activities has become one of the major challenges for profit and non-profit organisations. Here, as one of the most highly internationalized industrial branches, the automotive sector reflects recent developments of increasing cross-border activities.
One very important but cost-intensive instrument of cross-border coordination is foreign assignments of expatriates that are at the same time highly susceptible for failure. Therefore, in the last years, most organizations try to rationalize the assignment processes by implementing more flexible and cost saving forms of cross-border coordination such as short-term, commuter or virtual assignments. However, the influences on the implementation of one or the other form of cross-border coordination still remain underexplored.
The paper will present the theoretical framework and first results of the international research project ‘Cross-border personnel mobility between Mexico and Germany - changing patterns of organisational coordination?’ funded by the ‘German Research Foundation’ and the ‘Mexican National Council for Science and Technology’. Assignment-policies, patterns and challenges of two German carmakers will be analysed and compared. The paper will shed light on the question how far resource restrictions caused by the economic crisis have influenced the assignment policies of the selected German carmakers. This is of particular interest, because although being heavily hit by the impact of the financial crisis, due to various circumstances German carmakers managed to rapidly recover from the economic hardships. Thus, due to this fact as well as due to the carmakers’ high degree and long experience with internationalisation, the assignment practices of German carmakers could serve as a good example for organisations of other sectors.

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