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The Various Approaches to Global Staffing


To begin with, it should be stated that the approaches towards global staffing are generally identified by the allover HR management strategy, accepted by the company. HRM, in its turn, is based on the business aims and goals, which are defined by the external marketing circumstances. In the light of this fact, it should be emphasized that all these factors and aspects are interconnected; consequently, it is impossible to emphasize any approach as more or less important or beneficial.

Approaches of Global Staffing

Originally, there are four approaches differentiated: ethnocentric staffing, polycentric staffing, regiocentric staffing, and geocentric staffing. Previously to clarifying each concept, it is necessary to explain the basis of these approaches. These are based on the types of global staff members: these may be expatriates, host country nationals (HCN), and third-country nationals (TCN). Expatriates are the workers who are the citizens of the country, where the HQ of the company is located. HCN is the citizen of the county, where the regional department is located, and the TCN is the citizen of some other country. Thus, ethnocentric staffing presupposes the employment of expatriates in order to enforce the foreign positions of the company. This approach is generally resorted to when the home-office interests have a higher priority over the interests of the foreign department. Companies, in their turn, are concerned in selecting and training managers for the foreign assignments, presupposing essential compensation when managers return home. (Galbraith, 2000)

Polycentric staffing is resorted to when the host country nationals are employed through the allover structure of the company. The main goal of any managerial operation is to turn over control to local management. This approach helps organizations to create a working and thoroughly functioning human resource department in every foreign department of a company.

Regiocentric approach to staffing is very similar to polycentric with the only distinction that regional groups of subsidiaries reflect the organization’s strategy and structure work as a unit. Regional groups have some degree of autonomy, and promotions are possible within the region.

Geocentric Staffing is the most universal approach, which is used by companies, which are resorting to a worldwide-integrated business strategy.

Corporate Culture of the International Company

The culture of a company is generally defined by the business and marketing goals of the company, consequently, basing on these goals, the company makes its choice of the staffing approach. This may be explained by the concepts of company interests and strategy. Thus, if the strategy presupposes the satisfaction of the home country department, the company will base its corporate culture on this strategy, and give preference to expatriate employees, resorting to ethnocentric staffing. Originally, the international companies make an emphasis on the promotion of the interests of their foreign departments chasing the goals of the broadest development of the business performance and marketing activity. In the light of this fact, it should be stated that such companies prefer the Geocentric Staffing Approach. (Galbraith, 2000)

The fact is that the culture itself can not define the staffing approach. It is explained by the notion that culture is based on the allover business principles of the organization and its goal in every particular factor and aspect of business activity. On the other hand, it should be stated that depending on the goals, the staffing approach of any organization is a factor of corporate culture creation, thus, the staffing approach is one of the defining aspects of the corporate culture. Tiner (2005, p. 52) states the following notion on this fact: “A corporate culture based on the partnership can be particularly valuable in turning work into the design and organization of work. The traditional approach in staffing, in its turn, is frequently still geared to reducing the effectiveness of business performance”. In light of this fact, it is necessary to emphasize that corporate culture should not be used as the defining factor for selecting the staffing approach.

Culture of the Host Country

This issue is even more simple than the previous one. The definite answer to this question is that the culture of the country can not influence the staffing approach of the company. It has been already emphasized that the staffing approach is defined mostly by the interests and aims of the company, thus, the culture of the country may presuppose the selection of any approach only defining and shaping the culture of the country. From this perspective, it should be stated that the staffing approach, which is generally defined by the aims and strategy of the company may be presupposed by the host country culture only if this culture entails strong business principles and interests of an international company. (Briscoe, 2004)

Influence in Making the Decision about Approaches

Originally, the corporate strategy and the business goals of the company have the strongest influence on the staffing approaches. The explanation of this concept is covered in the fact that the strategy defines the plan and the way of achieving the interests of the company, while staffing is just a tool for achieving these interests. However, it does not mean that the approach may be the only. Any company is free to incorporate several staffing approaches if its interests incorporate various directions of business development. From this point of view, it should be emphasized that the wish and strong determination for further business development may be regarded as the most powerful factor for determining the staffing approach.


In conclusion, it is necessary to mention that the staffing approach is generally based on the types of global staff membership principles. Expatriate workers, HCNs, or TCNs are regarded as the basis of four staffing approaches, which are defined by the interests of the company, its determination for further development, and in some measure by the corporate culture of the company. Ethnocentric, polycentric, regiocentric, and geocentric staffing approaches are defined by the character of the international performance of a company, consequently, these approaches presuppose the character of the HRM strategy and relations within the team, based on the factors of business performance and the goals of marketing activity.


Briscoe, Dennis R., and Randall S. Schuler. International Human Resource Management: Policies & Practices for the Global Enterprise. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Galbraith, Jay R. Designing the Global Corporation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.

Tziner, Aharon. Organization Staffing and Work Adjustment. New York: Praeger Publishers, 2005.


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