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Work conditions as moderators of the relationship between western expatriates’ commitment and retention in international assignments

Phuong Nguyen (International Educational Doctorate Institute (INEDD), Siegen University, Siegen, Germany)
Jörg Felfe (Department of Organizational Psychology, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg, Germany)
Insa Fooken (Department of Education and Psychology, Siegen University, Siegen, Germany)

Evidence-based HRM

ISSN: 2049-3983

Article publication date: 14 October 2014

641

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to first, examine the role of multi-dimensional commitments of western expatriates to a local operation in sustaining retention in international assignments. Second, the study also attempts to investigate the work conditions in which dimensions of local operation commitment are more effective in predicting retention.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected by questionnaire from 471 western expatriates currently working for the subsidiaries of multinational companies in Vietnam, and from this, five hypotheses were formulated and tested using hierarchical regression, moderated regression analyses and plots of two-way interaction effects.

Findings

The results indicated that all three components of local operation commitment (affective, normative, and continuance commitment) positively predicted retention. The findings also revealed that job autonomy, leader support, and remuneration were found as moderators, which increase the effects of the three components of local operation commitment on retention.

Practical implications

By understanding and managing the multi-dimensional nature of expatriate commitment to a local operation as well as their working conditions (job autonomy, leader support, and remuneration), multinational companies can reduce the rate of premature return for western expatriates. It is the interaction between local operation commitment and these factors that most positively influences retention.

Originality/value

The first contribution of this research is the identification of the important role of multi-dimensional commitments to a local operation in predicting retention. Second, the moderating effects of work conditions found in this study partially explain why the relationship between local operation commitment and retention is reported unstable in previous studies. Therefore, controlling work conditions is recommended to enhance the local commitment-retention relationship.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was funded in part by DAAD Germany, and the International Office of the University of Siegen. The authors are grateful for the helpful financial support.

Citation

Nguyen, P., Felfe, J. and Fooken, I. (2014), "Work conditions as moderators of the relationship between western expatriates’ commitment and retention in international assignments", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 145-163. https://doi.org/10.1108/EBHRM-09-2012-0011

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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