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Combining lifelines to thrive: a stage-based need fulfilment network of international assignees

Prantika Ray ( Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Area , IIM Kozhikode, Kozhikode, India)
Sunil Kumar Maheshwari ( Human Resources Management , IIM Ahmedabad , Ahmedabad, India)

Journal of Global Mobility

ISSN: 2049-8799

Article publication date: 11 March 2021

Issue publication date: 16 March 2021




The paper tries to understand the needs of the international assignees across the different stages of expatriation and how different developers in the professional and non-professional sphere render support and advice through these stages.


In this paper, the authors have interviewed 20 expatriates of various nationalities and tried to understand the various needs of the expatriates across the three initial stages of an assignment.


The paper finds that four important mentors in an expatriation assignment play multiple need-based mentoring functions at various assignment stages: host country nationals (HCNs), parent country nationals, fellow expatriates and family.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes to the literature on the need-based support rendered to expatriates during an international assignment. The paper, however, does not incorporate the perceptions of other vital stakeholders in the network and their intentions to contribute to the developmental network.

Practical implications

This paper lays down important practical implications for expatriates and the human resource management (HRM) professionals. This paper urges the practitioners to take a nuanced approach for developing expatriates than a generalized mentoring programme.


This study highlights the changing needs of the international assignees across the stages of an international assignment and demonstrates the important intra-organizational and extra-organizational developers such as family members in the fulfilment of these needs.



The authors would like to sincerely thank the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their time and endless efforts in providing us with detailed reviews. This project does not have any funding.


Ray, P. and Maheshwari, S.K. (2021), "Combining lifelines to thrive: a stage-based need fulfilment network of international assignees", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 4-30.



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