Linking global mobility and global talent management: the role of ROI

Yvonne McNulty (SIM University, Singapore)
Helen De Cieri (Department of Management, Monash University, Caulfield East, Australia)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Publication date: 4 January 2016



Little is known about the attraction, development, and attrition factors that impact on expatriates’ decision making in relation to international assignment opportunities, nor is there clear understanding as to how global mobility outcomes impact on global talent management (GTM). The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize the attraction, development, and attrition of expatriates as a process that is focussed on two core elements of expatriate ROI (eROI) – corporate ROI (cROI) and individual ROI (iROI). Further, the authors adopt an innovative approach by conceptualizing how global mobility is linked to GTM.


Applying psychological contract theory, the authors draw on empirical data from two large studies to compare the perspectives of mobility managers (the cROI inputs) with those of long-term assignees (expatriates; the iROI inputs) to identify how global mobility outcomes can impact on GTM.


By comparing and contrasting corporate and individual perspectives, the findings show a more complete picture of expatriation in practice than has been offered in prior research. Doing so highlights synergies and conflicts in the desired support provided for, and outcomes expected from, global mobility and GTM programs.


The research adds to the literature by demonstrating how cROI and iROI combine to influence overall global mobility outcomes for multinational corporations, and how these, in turn, impact on GTM initiatives and overall GTM success. It extends previous research to specifically link global mobility to GTM, and adds to the limited empirical literature on eROI. The research also advances understanding of the employment relationship during expatriation by identifying new factors and consequences pertaining to psychological contract fulfillment. Implications for future research are presented.



McNulty, Y. and De Cieri, H. (2016), "Linking global mobility and global talent management: the role of ROI", Employee Relations, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 8-30.

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