The effect of improvisation in turbulent times on IHR strategy: A case study of French MNEs in Tunisia

Dorra Yahiaoui, Hela Chebbi, Hanane Beddi, Alkis Thrassou

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article investigates the evolution of international human resources (IHR) strategies of Western multinational enterprises (MNEs) from a strategic improvisation perspective. It analyzes the effect of the Tunisian context, after the revolution, on the strategic IHR direction of French MNEs. The study is based on qualitative research of two French MNEs in Tunisia, and the findings highlight the influence of contextual, managerial and organizational drivers on the improvisation strategy to revise the MNEs' IHR strategy. The results detail a parallel shift from an ethnocentric to a regiocentric approach, based on a minor improvisation in one case, and from an ethnocentric to a geocentric approach, following a bounded improvisation in the other. The work bears both scientific and industry value, as it defines and interrelates managerial, organizational and contextual forces, and transcribes scientific findings into practicable actions within an emerging market. The research identifies open-mindedness, communication, local managers' skills, mutual trust and strong local networks as keys in the development of an improvisation strategy within a turbulent context.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Management Review
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


    • emerging market
    • headquarters-subsidiaries relationships
    • international human resource strategy
    • political turbulence
    • strategic improvisation
    • Tunisian revolution


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