To read this content please select one of the options below:

The cross‐cultural adjustment experiences of self‐initiated repatriates to the Republic of Ireland labour market

Annette Begley (University of Ulster, Ulster, Northern Ireland)
David G. Collings (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)
Hugh Scullion (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine the self‐initiated repatriation experience of native professionals as they return to the labour market in the Republic of Ireland of their own volition and without the support of an employer.


A mixed methodology was employed to gather the data. In total, 40 responses were received from an initial open solicitation calling for research participants. Following a short survey receiving 34 responses, individuals who had returned without the aid of an employer to the Republic of Ireland and were willing to participate in further research were invited to participate in either a focus group discussion or in‐depth individual interviews. Ultimately, there were seven participants in the focus group and eleven individual in‐depth interviews.


The study found that the experiences of those in this study returning of their own volition and those of the more traditional repatriate do not seem to differ significantly across the facets of adjustment relating to adjustment in the general home country environment and adjustment to home country nationals, although subtle variations may be found. The main differences may be found when one investigates the facet of adjustment to work. Given that those returning of their own initiative are not returning to a position within a parent company, they must seek out their own employment. This adds a further source of stress and upheaval to an already difficult repatriation process.

Research limitations/implications

This is an exploratory study and hence requires further empirical verification. Nonetheless the study provides some useful signposts for future study in the area.


This research is unique in that it bridges a significant lacuna in the existing international human resource management literature by concentrating on the self‐initiated repatriation experience (SRE). This research is all the more important given that increasing numbers of individuals have returned to Ireland to seek work at their own discretion with the advent of the Celtic Tiger.



Begley, A., Collings, D.G. and Scullion, H. (2008), "The cross‐cultural adjustment experiences of self‐initiated repatriates to the Republic of Ireland labour market", Employee Relations, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 264-282.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles