Hr Global

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Date Submitted: 09/18/2011 12:59 AM

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Parent country nationals (PCNs) are employees who are citizens of and are hired from the nation where an organization has its original and current headquarters (the parent country). PCNs are distinct from host country nationals (HCNs), who are staff hired from the country where the international subsidiary is operating (the host country). Third country nationals (TCNs) are citizens of neither the parent nor the host country. The role and function of a PCN depends on the organizations approach to international human resource management and the needs of the overseas subsidiary where the PCN is assigned. PCNs use different adaptation strategies to cope with their overseas assignments, and there are both advantages and disadvantages in using PCNs to staff international subsidiaries.

The term parent country national usually is used only to identify an employee who is posted to an overseas country as an expatriate (overseas assignment of more than one year), as a worker on a short-term assignment (less than one year), or as a flexpatriate (several short-term overseas postings, sometimes referred to as commuter assignments). The term became widespread in the business world in the 1960s and 1970s, when it became apparent that the traditional employment dichotomy of expatriates and nationals could not accommodate employees who were citizens of neither the host nor the parent country (TCNs). Researchers and organizations replaced the dichotomy by distinguishing employees by parent, host, and third country citizenship.

Global businesses now categorize employees by using frameworks that include length of assignment (expatriate, short-term, and flexpatriate), direction of assignment (expatriate vs. inpatriate), and nature of assignment (expatriation vs. virtual assignment). Virtual assignments are job assignments focused on projects within a particular country that rely on electronic communications such as videoconferencing rather than require the assignee to travel to the...