The paradox of roots and wings: labor mobility between local firms and MNEs in North Africa

Fawzi Tigharsi, Abderaouf Bouguerra, Ismail Golgeci, Yasin Rofcanin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study is to explore employees’ knowledge- and learning-related experiences in moving between local firms and multinational enterprises (MNEs) and to examine the nature of paradoxes of labor mobility that local talents face in their career in the North African country of Algeria. In doing so, this paper explored the multifaceted experiences of employees who left local firms and joined MNEs.

The authors use a qualitative study, in-depth interviews with 12 employees from various industries, and apply an interpretive phenomenological approach to explain labor mobility between local firms and MNEs in the North African country of Algeria. The authors specifically focus on personal experiences of employees who worked in both local firms and MNEs.

The findings report a paradoxical situation and suggest that despite talented individuals grow their capabilities in MNEs through reward and personal growth incentives, the grass is not always greener, and they face the paradox of nurturing their capabilities (wings) or empowering their roots by returning local firms to seek stability, security and flexibility.

This study contributes to the research at the intersection of human resource management, knowledge management and the paradox of management in emerging markets. Its value stems from empirically explicating the paradox of roots and wings as a complementary, learning type of paradox that individuals at local firms and MNEs in Algeria experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-80
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2019


  • Human resource management, Knowledge management, Labour mobility, Local firms, MNEs, Paradox


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