R&D employees’ tenure in MNC subsidiaries: The role of institutional distance and experience

Dhruba Borah, Silvia Massini, Lucia Piscitello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Long tenure of research and development (R&D) employees helps organisations to utilise employees’ knowledge over a sustained time period and strengthen their competitive advantage. It also allows organisations to benefit from the training investments made on their R&D employees. Thus, identifying the determinants of R&D employees’ tenure is crucial for designing effective R&D employee retention strategies. This paper analyses the factors explaining R&D employees’ tenure in the subsidiaries of multinational corporations (MNCs). Building on institutional theory, we claim that formal and informal institutional distance between MNCs’ home and host country might lead to R&D employees’ short tenure in subsidiaries. We further suggest that R&D employees’ international experience and MNCs’ host country experience play a moderating role. We find support for our hypotheses mobilising an original database that combines patent data and the LinkedIn profiles of 939 R&D employees in 256 MNC subsidiaries in India.

Keywords: R&D employee tenure, institutional distance, multinational companies, experience, LinkedIn
Original languageEnglish
JournalR & D Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 May 2022


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