The role of human resources in protecting expatriates: insights from the international aid and development sector

Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 2017, 28 (14), pp. 1960 - 1985
Issue Date:
2017
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Multinational organisations of all kinds face growing challenges to ensure that their international operations and staff are safe from threat of physical and psychological danger. This is particularly acute in the international aid and development sector, where expatriate field staff are both valuable and vulnerable, and where organisations often confront limited infrastructure and financial resources. This paper reports an empirical study exploring the ways in which 10 international non-government organisations from 5 nations (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Australia), all with substantial experience operating in high-risk contexts, manage the safety and security of their expatriate staff. Our results unearth four areas where these organisations seek to build in-house competence, centred on culture building, and supported by a suite of human resource practices relating to people services, information services and communication services. These competencies coalesce around an overarching philosophy towards safety and security that we describe as ‘personal responsibility and empowerment’.
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