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Do they really want to leave? A (re)-evaluation of expatriates' and spouses' premature return intention

Julia Goede (Department of Strategic Management, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)

Journal of Global Mobility

ISSN: 2049-8799

Article publication date: 13 July 2020

Issue publication date: 25 August 2020

449

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to (re-)evaluate the explanatory power of the stressor–stress–strain model and its' current operationalization by examining the influence of general and interaction adjustment and the mediating effect of general satisfaction on expatriates' and spouses' intention to prematurely return from an assignment or overseas location. Though expatriates' premature return intention has been well examined in prior literature, this is the first study to focus on spouses' premature return intention from the expatriate's assignment.

Design/methodology/approach

To evaluate the hypotheses, a sample of 104 expatriates and a sample of 64 spouses were collected and analysed utilizing structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results show that adjustment, as the opposite of distress, is not a direct negative driver of expatriates' nor spouses' premature return intention. Instead, the findings underscore the relevance of the general satisfaction with the international assignment (IA) as a mediator for both expatriates and spouses, which emphasizes the importance of attitudinal factors in the model. Overall, the results indicate that adjustment, in particular interaction adjustment, might not be a timely measure of distress anymore.

Practical implications

In order to reduce expatriates' and spouses' premature return intention multinational corporations should aim at maximizing satisfaction levels during the IA. To achieve this, both should be included in the selection process prior to the IA to tailor support mechanisms to satisfy their expectations.

Originality/value

This study is the first to investigate the premature return intention from the expatriates' and spouses' perspectives, while (re-)evaluating the explanatory power of the stressor–stress–strain model at present.

Keywords

Citation

Goede, J. (2020), "Do they really want to leave? A (re)-evaluation of expatriates' and spouses' premature return intention", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 209-228. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGM-02-2020-0009

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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