KU News: Managers face identity conflict within foreign-employing organizations, study shows

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Managers face identity conflict within foreign-employing organizations, study shows
LAWRENCE — Company or country? In this “age of nationalism,” workers often find themselves employed in local subsidiaries of multinational enterprises. But according to Minyoung Kim, associate professor of strategic management at the University of Kansas, this can lead to contradictions in loyalties that affect both employee and employer.

Department of Chemistry announces awards, scholarships for spring-summer 2022
LAWRENCE — The Department of Chemistry at the University of Kansas recognized the academic, research and teaching achievements of department majors by awarding over $170,000 in awards and scholarships at the Awards and Graduation Recognition Ceremony on May 7. Award recipients included Kansans from Arkansas City, De Soto, Gardner, Goddard, Kansas City, Lawrence, Lenexa, Liberal, Moundridge, Newton, Olathe, Overland Park, Paola, Park City, Rose Hill, Salina, Sharon Springs, Shawnee, Topeka and Wichita.

Full stories below.

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Contact: Jon Niccum, KU News Service, 785-864-7633, [email protected]
Managers face identity conflict within foreign-employing organizations, study shows
LAWRENCE — Company or country?
In this “age of nationalism,” workers often find themselves employed in local subsidiaries of multinational enterprises (MNEs). But according to Minyoung Kim, associate professor of strategic management and Frank T. Stockton Fellow in the School of Business at the University of Kansas, this can lead to contradictions in loyalties that affect both employee and employer.

“Managers working for multinational corporations feel an identity conflict. Because of that, they experience more stress. In terms of management strategy, the firms need to provide more opportunities so they can mitigate this identity conflict,” Kim said.

His article “Betwixt and Between: National and Organizational Identification of Host Country Managers Working in MNE Subsidiaries” investigates the patterns of dual identities of host country managers working in multinational enterprise subsidiaries. It finds that host country managers identify more strongly with their nation and less strongly with their organization than domestic firm managers, exposing them to greater acculturative stress within foreign organizations. It’s published in the Academy of Management Journal.

Co-written with Khan-Pyo Lee of Sogang University and Chi-Yeon You of Gyeongsang National University (both in South Korea), the article emphasizes why identification with an organization may prove important to overall job satisfaction.

“When managers are identifying more with their nation than the foreign-employing organization, the firms need to provide more care, opportunities and vision for these employees,” he said.

Kim explained that what is unique about his study is a clear demarcation between company and nation.

“For example, those people who work at Amazon or Google, they have both an organization identity and national identity. Most are U.S. citizens. So they are nested — this is a U.S. firm using U.S. employees. There’s not much source of conflict,” he said.

“The reason why we contrast the emphasis of managers working for the multinational corporation is that they are not nested; it is more of a cross-cutting. So if I’m in South Korea, and I’m working for Google Korea, I’m like the title: betwixt and between.”

While this research does have applications to social and community settings, Kim chose to focus on the business world. That arena offers at least one advantage when facing such a dilemma.

“In business, the firms can do something to address that situation. Managers who are recognizing the problem can have some kind of strategy for providing career opportunities, and they can acknowledge their employees’ importance so they’ll identify more with the organization. Maybe the government can institute similar kinds of public strategies, but that’s beyond our scope right now,” he said.

Kim’s study centers on an analysis of 843 Korean managers working in 19 Korean firms and 60 MNE subsidiaries.

Would this study yield different results if it was conducted in a country other than South Korea?

“People in certain countries don’t necessarily identify strongly with their countries. So depending on the economic development, status of the country or other factors, different countries may have different implications,” he said, noting a similar study was tried previously in Romania that led to mixed conclusions.

“Korea is relatively ethnically homogenous. They have a rather long history. So they have many factors to identify with more as a nation.”

The inverse of this situation introduces its own set of problems.

“For an immigrant in the States, the ideal situation is that you identify with the U.S. at the same time you identify with your ethnic group — what is called an ‘integrated profile.’ But the worst-case scenario is that you’re living in the U.S. but still have a stronger identification with your ethnic group. Then you can feel alienated,” he said.

Now in his 10th year at KU, Kim studies the intersection between strategic management and international business. He often focuses on how firms create value and how they appropriate the value they have created. His latest article intersects with a concept he studies called “liability of foreignness.”

“As a foreigner traveling in another country, you are inferior to the native resident there in terms of language and culture. In the same way, every firm — regardless if you’re GM or Google — suffers from this liability of foreignness when they go abroad because they don’t know the rules and norms, and they don’t have network and distribution channels,” he said.
So far, other studies have recognized liability of foreignness in terms of external factors.

“But what we are finding here is there’s an internal source of liability of foreignness,” Kim said. “Multinational corporations’ own employees can be a source of liability because they are not identifying with the firm. Identification with the organization is really important because that’s what makes a firm more efficient. So if you can mitigate this cost, you can create more value.”
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Contact: Liz Coleman, Department of Chemistry, [email protected]
Department of Chemistry announces awards, scholarships for spring-summer 2022
LAWRENCE — The Department of Chemistry at the University of Kansas recognized the academic, research and teaching achievements of department majors by awarding over $170,000 in awards and scholarships at the Awards and Graduation Recognition Ceremony on May 7. In addition to presenting awards and scholarships, students graduating with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry were recognized.

Special guests at the ceremony — the first in-person department award gathering since 2019 — included KU Endowment donors, Chemistry Alumni Advisory Board (CAAB) members, emeritus faculty, chemistry department staff and faculty, and friends and family of those being honored.

Undergraduate scholarships and awards were presented to chemistry majors to recognize their academic and research achievements for the 2021-2022 academic year. Chemistry graduate students also earned awards and scholarships to recognize their contributions to academics, research and/or teaching.

With over $170,000 provided in scholarships and awards, 2022 marks the highest amount awarded in the past five years. In addition to the spring awards, the department announced the 2022 Chemistry Summer Scholars, a program in its third year that provides both graduate and undergraduates with a summer stipend to focus on research. The fund is made possible through gifts made via KU Endowment.

Kansas award recipients are listed below, while the complete list of award winners is available online. Some Kansans received multiple honors:

2022 Chemistry Undergraduate Awards & Scholarships for freshmen, sophomores and juniors:
1. Joshua Abbey, Gardner, Walter Gubar Memorial Scholarship
2. Eden Brenneman, Wichita, Walter Gubar Memorial Scholarship
3. Kelsey Butler, Goddard, Walter Gubar Memorial Scholarship
4. Claire Dopp, Olathe, Kristina May Paquette Scholarship & Post Beckman Scholar Award
5. Spencer Einhaus, Salina, Roger Munsinger Scholarship
6. Thomas Finn, Overland Park, K. Barbara Schowen Scholarship
7. Samara Haenggi, Wichita, Chemistry Department Scholarship
8. Celine Khalife, Wichita, Adrienne Hiscox Mitchell Scholarship
9. Caitlyn Korte, Rose Hill, Walter Gubar Memorial Scholarship
10. Caden Kussatz, Gardner, James P. & Sharon A. Elrod Scholarship
11. Maria Matulis, Lenexa, Bijan & Mary Taylor Amini Scholarship
12. Taryn McNickle, Arkansas City, Frances Gayetta Hanna Lenser Scholarship
13. Trisha Nair, Overland Park, Owen W. Maloney Scholarship
14. Brandon Nguyen, Liberal, Bijan & Mary Taylor Amini Scholarship
15. Jiani Osborn, Olathe, Floyd & Ruth Fassnacht Scholarship & Kenyon Latham Award
16. Audrey Rips-Goodwin, Overland Park, Frances Gayetta Lenser Scholarship
17. Riley Stegmaier, Wichita, John Shapley Award for Excellence in Research and Leland & Jill Weigel Scholarship
18. Kaytlin Todd, Olathe, Chemistry Department Scholarship
19. Cole VandeVelde, Topeka, Burton & Cheryle MacKenzie Scholarship
20. Gavin Wolfmule, Salina, Leonard V. Sorg Scholarship
21. Elaine Yeh, Overland Park, Ralph E. & Esther Weik Badgley Award.

2022 Chemistry Undergraduate Awards for Seniors:
1. Jessica Bair, Sharon Springs, Keith & Dona Darlington Award
2. Robert Castaneda, Lawrence, Frank Newby Physical Science Award
3. Stephanie Castillo, Paola, Frank Newby Physical Science Award
4. Anh-Dao Do, Kansas City, Frank Newby Physical Science Award
5. Christian McCoy, Park City, Frank Newby Physical Science Award
6. Ambrosee Wilkinson, Salina, Frank Newby Physical Science Award.

2022 Chemistry Undergraduate Top Senior Awards:
1. Jonah Stiel, Topeka, American Institute of Chemists Award, Ted M. Gardiner Award and Chemistry Departmental Honors
2. Emma Cosner, Lawrence, Richard J. Bearman Chemistry Award and Chemistry Departmental Honors
3. Anton Barybin, Lawrence, Alpha Chi Sigma Award, Gini Adams Research Award in Analytical Chemistry and Chemistry Departmental Honors.

2022 Chemistry Graduate Top Overall Awards:
1. Alex Meier, Newton, Frank B. Dains Award in Organic Chemistry
2. Julie Leseberg, De Soto, Ernest Griswold Award in Inorganic Chemistry
3. Chase Stucky, Moundridge, J.K. Lee Award in Analytical Chemistry
4. Wade Henke, Shawnee, Takeru Higuchi Doctoral Progress Award, Overall Superior Achievement in Chemistry.

2022 Chemistry Graduate Summer Scholars:
1. Chase Stucky, Moundridge, Lee Summer Scholar
2. Alex Meier, Newton, Schowen Summer Scholar.

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