The research in this particular case applies to an aspect of international people management that is the international transfer of managers.
We assess the immediate opportunities of such research as being determined by the number of international management transfers in any given period, the importance to the MNC of such transfers and the possibility of accessing useful data relating to these transfers. International management transfers are a frequent occurrence and there is a corresponding base of information that can be researched or is already available. Management transfers are also relatively important to MNCs. They want to make sure that it works: the impact of a good or bad managerial decision often weighs more that of a non-managerial employee, and this impact increases with ascending management rank. This also motivates MNCs and their representatives to respond to requests for data in the form of questionnaires, if these questionnaires are appropriately constructed and presented.
The limitations of such research are in some ways connected with the discussion on the opportunities. The first limitation is that of the willingness or the availability of the relevant contacts in the MNCs to give the data required The second is the way on which such data is to be amassed, either by direct contact (telephone) which can be time-consuming, expensive and not necessarily effective, or by indirect means such as questionnaires sent through the post, which can then increase the elapsed time before results are available as well as the difficulty of chasing up replies and information. Not mentioned in this paper from 2001 are the possibilities now available by Internet with online questionnaires. As a first recommendation, consideration should be given to doing surveys of this time online where possible (Dr. Harzing has perhaps moved to internet-based questionnaires since she wrote this article). Although for a pure Internet-based solution it would also be necessary to know the email address of the person to be contacted, hybrid solutions are also possible: for example, send out a letter which contains instructions to go to a website to fill in a survey.
The choice of a paper to critique
Our choice of paper was determined by a number of aspects. We sought papers that reported empirical research, either from the creation of primary data, the utilisation of secondary data, or both. We also sought papers that had real meaning and relevance in the field of international people management. Of the various candidates reviewed, we selected Anne-Wil Harzing's paper as fulfilling these criteria.
The aims and intentions of "An Analysis of the Functions of International Transfers of Managers in MNCs"
The article states its aim as better identification for the reasons for which MNCs (multinational companies) send out