Contextual determinants in disclosing one’s stigmatized identity during expatriation: The case of lesbian and gay self-initiated expatriates

Kowoon Kim (Department of Management and International Business, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA)
Mary Ann Von Glinow (Department of Management and International Business, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA)

Journal of Global Mobility

ISSN: 2049-8799

Publication date: 11 September 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to add to the understanding of the international work experiences of lesbian and gay self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) with a particular focus on the effects of different contexts on their disclosure decisions. In doing so, this study responds to the call for more empirical and extensive studies of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) expatriates.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on in-depth analysis of four interviews of lesbian and gay SIEs.

Findings

The findings presented in this paper support three contextual determinants – personal, organizational, and country-level context. These contextual determinants significantly influence lesbian and gay SIEs’ disclosure decisions and their overall international work experience.

Originality/value

Given the rapid globalization and dynamic business environment, workforce diversity has become a business imperative over the past few decades. Diversity in today’s workforce includes not simply gender and racial diversity, but also age, culture, sexual orientation, religion, education, and disabilities as primary categories of diversity. Moreover, new technologies require highly skilled labor the world over, exacerbating existing global talent shortages. These advancements in technology, accompanied by massive shortfalls in skilled labor, have expanded the pool of potential expatriates to include those non-traditional ones who have been excluded from international assignments. Particularly, as LGBT rights to equal employment opportunity and their potential contributions to international assignments have been increasingly recognized worldwide in recent years, attention to LGBT expatriates has grown exponentially. Nevertheless, neither their experiences as lesbian and gay SIEs in international assignments nor the effects of contexts on those experiences, including disclosure decisions, have yet to be fully explored. In this sense, this paper provides a contribution to the deeper understanding of lesbian and gay SIEs in multidimensional contexts of an international assignment. Although the study examined lesbian and gay expatriates, results suggest insights into the entire LGBT expatriate community.

Keywords

Citation

Kim, K. and Von Glinow, M.A. (2017), "Contextual determinants in disclosing one’s stigmatized identity during expatriation: The case of lesbian and gay self-initiated expatriates", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 317-338. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGM-01-2017-0004

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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