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The Global Mobility function: From tightrope walker performing a balancing act towards knowledge broker and linchpin

Reimara Valk (Department of Management, American University in Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Journal of Global Mobility

ISSN: 2049-8799

Article publication date: 14 June 2019

Issue publication date: 23 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to explore the transformation of the Global Mobility (GM) function within global organisations from a tactical/transactional into a strategic function to add value to the business and international assignees.


The method of research is an exploratory, qualitative study using an interpretivist paradigm. In total, 37 GM specialists working and living across Europe, America and Australasia were interviewed.


Administrative burden, organisational culture and structure, lack of alignment with the business and talent management and the lack of capabilities of the GM function and GM specialists inhibit the transformation from a tactical/transactional GM function into a Strategic GM (SGM) function.

Research limitations/implications

Although this study included a variety of stakeholders of the GM function, it did not include line managers and senior executives. Therefore, future research should capture the views on the GM function of middle and top management of global organisations to provide a more comprehensive view on SGM.

Practical implications

The designed “Global Mobility Specialists Competencies” model presents the competencies GM specialists and functions need to develop to be able to fulfil the role of a business partner and to create a GM function that is agile, flexible and responsive to create sustainable value for the organisation.


This paper identified the characteristics of the roles of the GM function and GM specialists unravelling how these influence the transformation of the GM function into a strategic function.



Valk, R. (2019), "The Global Mobility function: From tightrope walker performing a balancing act towards knowledge broker and linchpin", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 194-212.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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