Marital status and work outcomes of self‐initiated expatriates

Jan Selmer (Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Jakob Lauring (Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Publication date: 3 May 2011



Most of the fast‐growing literature on business expatriates has focused on organizational expatriates (OEs) who have been assigned by their parent companies to the foreign location. However, there is much less research on self‐initiated expatriates (SIE), who themselves have decided to expatriate to work abroad. The purpose of this paper is to provide knowledge on this under‐researched group of expatriates.


A questionnaire was directed electronically towards SIE academics in universities in the Nordic countries and in The Netherlands.


The current study examines marital status, gender and work outcomes of SIEs, and specifically whether there is a moderating effect of gender. Results showed, as expected, a positive association between being married and work effectiveness as well as with work performance but, surprisingly, there was no moderating effect of gender on these positive relationships.

Practical implications

Results indicate that organizations recruiting SIEs in the host country location may want to prefer married expatriates over their unmarried counterparts in the anticipation for them to achieve better work outcomes. However, there should be no distinguishing between men or women in the recruitment process.


This paper contributes to the understanding of the similarities and differences between OEs and SIEs.



Selmer, J. and Lauring, J. (2011), "Marital status and work outcomes of self‐initiated expatriates", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 198-213.

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