Staffing Policies and Human Resource Management in Argentina: American and British firms (1890–1930s)

Abstract: Foreign investment is at the core of discussions around the long-term development of Latin America’s economy. However, some aspects of foreign firms’ Latin American operations have not been analyzed extensively, such as management staffing strategies. This article examines recruitment patterns, managerial styles, and the professional development of executives in Argentina, contrasting cases of British and American companies from the end of the nineteenth century through to the 1930s. It tracks the main changes in the policies of foreign companies that transferred managerial skills and know-how from core countries to the periphery. The article shows how more ‘local’ talent was promoted to executive positions from the 1920s onwards and proposes that immigrant non-expatriates were a major source of managerial talent, in addition to expatriates (PCNs) and locals (HCNs). Multinational firms’ socialisation strategies also benefited from the social networks built by immigrants who had settled in the River Plate area from the mid 1800s.