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Should I stay or should I go? A systematic literature review about the conceptualization and measurement of international relocation mobility readiness

Jil Weisheit (Chair of Human Resource Management, University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany)

Journal of Global Mobility

ISSN: 2049-8799

Article publication date: 17 May 2018

Issue publication date: 31 May 2018

Abstract

Purpose

Employees’ readiness to relocate abroad plays a crucial role for the success or failure of expatriate assignments. Hence, companies should consider employees’ international relocation mobility readiness (IRMR) when selecting candidates for international postings. However, past research has conceptualized and measured IRMR heterogeneously, hampering the interpretation and comparability of IRMR research results. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to provide a new conceptualization of IRMR and to give recommendations for its measurement.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the business, psychological and sociological literature, this paper reviews and categorizes how IRMR has been conceptualized and measured. To structure the findings, a directed content analysis was applied. The sample comprises 88 journal articles.

Findings

The results reveal that studies seldom provide a conceptualization of IRMR. While the authors often find a misfit between the studies’ explicit conceptualization and the actual measurement of IRMR, most scales actually measure willingness (i.e. usually a predictor of risky and spontaneous behavior).

Research limitations/implications

Based on the results and the Rubicon model of action phases (Heckhausen and Gollwitzer, 1987), the authors recommend future research to conceptualize IRMR as a dynamic multidimensional construct, covering the different phases of an individual’s decision to relocate internationally. Future, IRMR measurements should also cover the complexity of IRMR, e.g. regarding specific location characteristics.

Practical implications

Companies should consider the whole decision-making process regarding IRMR to apply specific measures at the best possible time.

Originality/value

This paper investigates IRMR scales according to their scientific validity and hence provides the basic ground for future scale development studies.

Keywords

Citation

Weisheit, J. (2018), "Should I stay or should I go? A systematic literature review about the conceptualization and measurement of international relocation mobility readiness", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 129-157. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGM-01-2018-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited