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The expat-preneur: conceptualizing a growing international career phenomenon

Charles M. Vance (College of Business Administration, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California , United States)
Yvonne McNulty (Department of Management, Singapore Institute of Management University, Singapore, Singapore)
Yongsun Paik (College of Business Administration, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, United States)
Jason D'Mello (College of Business Administration, Loyola Marymount University,Los Angeles, California, United States)

Journal of Global Mobility

ISSN: 2049-8799

Article publication date: 13 June 2016




The purpose of this paper is to introduce the emerging international career phenomenon of the “expat-preneur,” an individual temporarily living abroad who initiates an international new venture (self-employment) opportunity in a host country.


This analysis is based on the authors’ observance of developing trends that also are showcased in the international management and IHRM literatures.


Two general types of expat-preneurs are proposed: first, pre-departure expat-preneurs who move abroad with a preconceived entrepreneurial purpose; and second, transitioned expat-preneurs who, only while abroad, recognize and pursue a new venture opportunity, either from the status of self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) looking for local employment or while serving as organization-assigned expatriates and leaving the organization at the end of the assignment or midstream.

Research limitations/implications

Distinctions between expat-preneurs and typical business SIEs are explored, and important contributions that expat-preneurs may provide in strengthening local host country economies are considered. Directions for further systematic and empirical research on the expat-preneur international career phenomenon are discussed.

Practical implications

Important mutually beneficial implications are noted for multinationals in supporting expat-preneurs’ long-term success in host country environments.


This conceptual study provides a valuable recognition and analysis of an important and growing international career category that has received scant attention in the literature. This research has important implications for the understanding of new international career dynamics associated with the growing trend of international entrepreneurship, especially valuable for emerging markets and of interest to multinational firms interested in the movement of their human capital.



Vance, C.M., McNulty, Y., Paik, Y. and D'Mello, J. (2016), "The expat-preneur: conceptualizing a growing international career phenomenon", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 202-224.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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