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The homecoming: a review of support practices for repatriates

Marshall Pattie (James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA)
Marion M. White (James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA)
Judy Tansky (The Ohio University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 17 August 2010




The purpose of this paper is to examine the prevalence of repatriate support practices in organizations within the context of the current literature in this field of study.


A total of 42 firms employing 3,234 expatriates were surveyed regarding human resource practices that support repatriation. Analysis focused on support practices as predictors of voluntary and involuntary turnover.


Results indicate that the majority of firms surveyed used two or fewer repatriate support practices. While 60 percent of firms offered logistical assistance, such as relocation services, less than 70 percent offered career and training support for repatriates. The most common cause of involuntary turnover is the lack of job openings in the home organization upon reentry, while the most common cause of voluntary turnover is the organization's poor utilization of the expatriate's skills acquired on the overseas assignment. Organizations with more support practices reported a lower average repatriate turnover compared to organizations with fewer support practices.

Practical implications

While previous literature suggests that repatriate support practices are critical, this research finds that few organizations are providing sufficient support to mitigate turnover.


In contrast to much of the research on repatriation that relies on individual perceptions, this paper utilizes organization level survey data provided by 42 firms that document their repatriate support practices.



Pattie, M., White, M.M. and Tansky, J. (2010), "The homecoming: a review of support practices for repatriates", Career Development International, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 359-377.



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