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The protean approach to managing repatriation transitions

Sharon Leiba O’Sullivan (School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 1 November 2002



Although top‐down interventions have the potential to reduce repatriate turnover, most organizations have not been very accommodating and repatriate turnover continues to remain high. Drawing from career transitions theory and the protean perspective of career management, this paper proposes a model of repatriate proactivity as an alternate approach. A “successful” repatriation transition outcome is defined as one in which, upon return, the repatriate: gains access to a job which recognizes any newly acquired international competencies; experiences minimal cross‐cultural re‐adjustment difficulties; and reports low turnover intentions. Individual antecedents are posited to include proactive repatriation behaviors and the personality characteristics which are suggested to drive the use of these behaviors. The strength/weakness of the repatriation situation is posited to moderate the relationship between personality and the emergence of proactive repatriation behaviors. Practical and theoretical implications for both the repatriation problem, and the career development literature in general, are discussed.



Leiba O’Sullivan, S. (2002), "The protean approach to managing repatriation transitions", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 23 No. 7, pp. 597-616.




Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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