The purpose of this paper is to examine whether traditional conventions of the expatriate psychological contract have altered from both employer and employee perspectives. In essence to what extent have multi‐national corporations adjusted organisational practices to reflect changing circumstances and to what extent have expatriates altered their mindset towards employers' obligations and requirements.
The paper draws on findings of three organisational case studies and is based on in‐depth interviews with HR managers, line managers and expatriates.
The findings reveale that the overall tone of the psychological contract from the employers' perspective is transactional. From an employee perspective, preliminary evidence suggests that the dynamics of the employment relationship is changing and that employees have responded to contract changes by seeking to ensure their employability and reduce their dependence on a single organisation.
The paper focuses on four areas for managers: first, pro‐actively influencing expatriates' expectations thereby minimising misunderstandings; second, organisations should be very aware of “the remuneration market rate” for a particular location; third, policies of support and contact would aid feelings of integration. Finally, more attention should be paid new approaches to strategic talent management.
This paper contributes theoretically and empirically to the literature on expatriates' psychological contracts, an area where there is a dearth of empirical research. The paper also increases the understanding of the variety of expatriate perceptions in different contexts, thereby deepening the understanding of the importance of context in this area.
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