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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Hyun-Jung Lee, Chei Hwee Chua, Christof Miska and Günter K. Stahl

With the steady increase in the number of female expatriates and multinational corporations’ (MNCs’) pressing need for global female talent, understanding the factors that…

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1365

Abstract

Purpose

With the steady increase in the number of female expatriates and multinational corporations’ (MNCs’) pressing need for global female talent, understanding the factors that attract and retain female expatriates is urgent. Drawing from the literatures on gender differences in (domestic) labor turnover and gender differences in social networks, the purpose of this paper is to investigate gender differences in expatriates’ turnover intentions.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collected data via a questionnaire survey from an international sample of female (n=164) and male (n=1,509) expatriates who were on a company-sponsored international assignment at the time of completing the survey.

Findings

The findings show that female expatriates’ turnover intentions are mainly explained by satisfaction with company support. In contrast, male expatriates’ turnover intentions are explained by repatriation concerns and perceived gap between within- and outside-company career-advancement opportunities, in addition to satisfaction with company support. The authors did not find any gender differences in the levels of turnover intention per se.

Practical implications

Since males dominate the expatriate cadre of most companies, existing expatriate retention strategies are likely to be geared toward males. Companies that value and want to retain their female talent need to gain a better understanding of what matters to female expatriates in their decisions to stay or leave the company, and adjust their expatriation and repatriation management strategies accordingly.

Originality/value

The study is one of the first to empirically test the gender differences in expatriate turnover intentions. The authors propose two underlying mechanisms that explain gender differences in expatriate turnover intentions: social integration and career advancement. The findings point to an important new research frontier that focuses on gender differences in the underlying mechanisms of turnover intentions rather than in the level of turnover intentions.

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Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

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Article
Publication date: 29 November 2013

Pernilla Gripenberg, Charlotta Niemistö and Carla Alapeteri

The purpose of this paper is to explore gender differences in career prospects and changes in attitudes to international assignments over recent decades in Finland. This…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore gender differences in career prospects and changes in attitudes to international assignments over recent decades in Finland. This is relevant in light of the international immobility trend among staff with which MNCs especially are struggling, coupled with the persistent unequal ratio of male to female expatriates. The paper aims to increase the understanding of how gender and family relations affect international career prospects and what changes have evolved over time.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper compares differences and changes in opportunities to and preferences for long-term international assignments between male and female business graduates in Finland. It uses survey data on attitudes to expatriation from 1994 to 2008.

Findings

A general shift from individual career centeredness towards family centeredness was detected between the two points in time. Paradoxically, this research shows that while gender equality seems to be increasing between spouses, it seems to be decreasing in who is being offered international assignments. The results give valuable insights into how the trend of international immobility has occurred and how the gender relations and gendered values are developing in society.

Practical implications

While the international immobility trend persists, women apparently remain as an under-utilized resource when searching for employees to send on long-term expatriate assignments. Global HR professionals should pay more attention to whom expatriate assignments are offered and to how dual career couples and families can be better supported in the expatriation process.

Originality /value

The paper contributes to the understanding of gendered careers and women's opportunities in international assignments with a unique comparison of changes over time.

Details

Journal of Global Mobility, vol. 1 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2015

Xavier Salamin and Eric Davoine

Reasons for women’s underrepresentation in international assignments include stereotypical assumptions within organizations about their ability to adjust abroad and more…

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1393

Abstract

Purpose

Reasons for women’s underrepresentation in international assignments include stereotypical assumptions within organizations about their ability to adjust abroad and more broadly a lack of trust from the corporate headquarters. Female expatriates’ adjustment may strongly vary depending on the host country and on host-country nationals’ attitudes toward them. Yet up until today, very few studies have examined female expatriate adjustment in a single and non-Asian host country. The purpose of this paper is to address this gap by comparing the cross-cultural adjustment of male and female expatriates in Switzerland.

Design/methodology/approach

This study replicates Selmer and Leung’s (2003a) study design in order to compare adjustment of male and female expatriates working in multinational companies in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Based on 152 valid questionnaires collected, the authors performed a multivariate analysis of covariance and further analyses of covariance to compare male and female expatriate adjustment.

Findings

The authors find that female expatriates have significantly higher interaction and work adjustment levels than their male counterparts, while no significant differences between men and women were observed in terms of general adjustment. These findings in a European context are consistent with those of Selmer and Leung in an Asian context.

Originality/value

Very few studies to date have examined the adjustment of female expatriates in a western host-country context, despite the fact that host-country cultural norms might strongly influence women’s experiences. The research brings new empirical evidence about cross-cultural adjustment of female and male expatriates in a western location. Contrary to persistent stereotypical assumptions, results emphasize again that women are able to adjust better or at least as well as their male counterparts.

Details

Journal of Global Mobility, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2008

Kate Hutchings, Erica French and Tim Hatcher

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between gender and the individual and social aspects of expatriate work, emphasising how issues external to…

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2380

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between gender and the individual and social aspects of expatriate work, emphasising how issues external to the organisation impact on the experience of female expatriates.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 102 male respondents and 44 female respondents were surveyed in order to test the perceived organisational support, career satisfaction, and expatriate social support.

Findings

Significant gender‐related differences were identified in all three areas with notable contradiction in the perception and practice of how multinational corporations (MNCs) manage their expatriates. While earlier research suggested that organisations perceived their treatment of female expatriates to be equivalent to that of men, the results indicate that female international managers do not perceive equal treatment on international assignments.

Research limitations/implications

Although based on a smaller sample than other international studies, the gender breakdown was sufficient for moderated regression testing.

Practical implications

As the expatriate social support construct is largely exploratory in nature, future research could examine the effect of perceived expatriate social support on other related workplace behaviours, both domestically and internationally, including work‐life balance and diversity management.

Originality/value

While other studies have provided a rich descriptive picture of the gendered nature of expatriation, little research has attempted to quantify the reasons behind the phenomenon. This paper addresses this gap in the literature through exploration of the issues, which impact upon the experience of female expatriates in foreign MNCs in China.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Arup Varma and Linda Russell

The purpose of the paper is twofold – first, to explore the role of perceived organizational support (POS) during the three critical stages of the female expatriate

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3245

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is twofold – first, to explore the role of perceived organizational support (POS) during the three critical stages of the female expatriate experience, with a view to explaining the disproportionately low numbers of females in expatriate roles; and second, to offer specific suggestions to multi-national enterprises to help them create a level playing field so females can compete for expatriate assignments.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw upon the theory of POS to explore how the perceived lack of support from their organization during the critical stages of expatriate assignments affects women’s interest, and potentially their performance, in expatriate assignments. The authors develop and present relevant propositions.

Findings

This is a conceptual paper that offers a process model of the impact of POS on the three stages of selection of females for expatriates.

Research limitations/implications

From a theoretical perspective it is clear that POS can play an important role in the willingness of females to accept international assignments. Thus POS can be a critical determinant of the potential levels of female participation in expatriate assignments. Previously, scholars have argued that the low numbers of female expatriates may be a result of a lack of interest on their part, or because they may not be welcomed in many countries. However, subsequent theses have argued, and many studies have shown, that females can be equally successful. The proposed process model helps to better understand how organizations might dismantle the barriers faced by potential female expatriates, by addressing the key issues at each stage.

Practical implications

Multinational enterprises need to ensure that they are drawing from their full pool of talent, if they are to compete effectively against other multinational enterprises. By paying attention to the suggestions, and adopting and executing the propositions, they will be able to avoid the possibility that their qualified female employees may withdraw from the organization if they believe that they are not likely to be considered for expatriate assignments, simply because of their gender, even though they are interested.

Social implications

From a societal perspective, it is indeed critical that qualified females are provided the same opportunities that are made available to males. Given that roughly half the population is female, multi-national enterprises that fail to treat their female employees fairly will be seen as poor corporate citizens.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to address the critical issue of low numbers of females on expatriate assignments by drawing upon the tenets of the theory of POS. The authors offer several propositions to help multinational enterprises understand the impact of the gender imbalance in expatriate assignments, and offer suggestions on how organizations might improve the participation of females in expatriate assignments.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 38 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2002

Yongsun Paik and Charles M. Vance

This study compared the perceptions of US, German, Korean, and Mexican managers on six different survey items assessing the business success viability of female US…

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1639

Abstract

This study compared the perceptions of US, German, Korean, and Mexican managers on six different survey items assessing the business success viability of female US expatriates. The US managers’ perceptions were generally less positive than those held by their foreign counterparts who represented the actual foreign business environment in their regions, suggesting a possible unfounded selection bias against US women and an unnecessary career obstacle. Furthermore, gender played a significant role in the US sample in assessing the perceived viability of American US expatriates, with female US managers expressing a more favorable attitude.

Details

Women in Management Review, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Susan Shortland

The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which – and how – female expatriate role models support women to take up expatriate assignments in the male-dominated…

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1812

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which – and how – female expatriate role models support women to take up expatriate assignments in the male-dominated oil and gas industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The research uses data from a census survey of female expatriates supported by semi-structured interviews with a stratified sample of the survey respondents, triangulated with interviews with human resource (HR) professionals and analysis of organizational policy relevant to expatriation.

Findings

Potential assignees value the information that women role models can provide on living in challenging, masculine locations. Role models are particularly important to women undertaking unaccompanied assignments and also when assignment periods exceed traditional lengths. Current female expatriates do not view themselves as role models, despite HR professionals recognizing their value in inspiring women's expatriation.

Research limitations/implications

This research was set in a sector with very few female expatriate role models. Further research is needed to understand the influence of role models on women's expatriation in different sectors and organizations with greater female role model representation.

Practical implications

Training for current assignees, time to be set aside within work duties and communications links to enable current and returned female expatriates to connect with potential assignees are needed to widen expatriate gender diversity.

Originality/value

This research contributes to theory by linking the importance of role models to women's career stages. It proposes a new theoretical contribution by linking role model importance to the types of assignments women undertake. Practical suggestions for organizations are given to widen expatriate gender diversity via support for role models.

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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2011

Nina Cole and Yvonne McNulty

The purpose of the paper is to assess the relevance of the personal value called self‐transcendence as an explanatory factor regarding gender differences in the…

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5571

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to assess the relevance of the personal value called self‐transcendence as an explanatory factor regarding gender differences in the socio‐cultural adjustment of expatriate employees.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 37 male and 31 female expatriates responded to an online questionnaire concerning their self‐transcendence value and their adjustment as expatriate employees.

Findings

Self‐transcendence of the expatriate predicted interactional and work adjustment. Perceived expatriate‐local difference in self‐transcendence was a negative predictor of work and interactional adjustment. Females had higher (non‐significant) self‐transcendence than males. Further gender differences in the impact of self‐transcendence and perceived expatriate‐local differences in self‐transcendence were found.

Research limitations/implications

Further research into the effect of expatriate levels of the personal value of self‐transcendence, its two components, universalism and benevolence, and gender differences therein appears warranted. Statistical techniques to establish causality should be used.

Practical implications

Knowledge regarding the self‐transcendence values of candidates for expatriate assignments may assist global human resource managers to make more effective selection decisions regarding expatriate assignments.

Originality/value

The study described in this paper is among the first to assess potential explanations for the better interactional and work adjustment of female expatriates compared to males. This study replicates earlier findings regarding the relationship between perceived expatriate‐local differences in self‐transcendence and expatriate socio‐cultural adjustment and provides new knowledge regarding gender differences in this relationship.

Details

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7606

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

Charles M. Vance and Yongsun Paik

Attempts to verify anecdotal and field evidence of an unfounded expatriate assignment selection bias against American females. Surveyed the perceptions of US, German and…

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1016

Abstract

Attempts to verify anecdotal and field evidence of an unfounded expatriate assignment selection bias against American females. Surveyed the perceptions of US, German and Mexican managers across six areas for assessing the business success viability of female American expatriates. Shows that American managers were less positive than their counterparts who knew the foreign marketplace better. States that the gender of the manager played a significant role in the US sample, where female managers gave amore favourable assessment.

Details

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 8 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7606

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2011

Susan Shortland

The purpose of this paper is to report on female expatriates' views on the potential importance of a formalised “women's network” launched by management as a diversity…

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3515

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on female expatriates' views on the potential importance of a formalised “women's network” launched by management as a diversity intervention to aid women's career development in an oil, gas and minerals extractive industries firm.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of a triangulated research comprising analysis of company policy, interviews with Human Resources staff, a census survey of women expatriates, followed by in‐depth, semi‐structured female expatriate interviews.

Findings

Women value networking to prepare for expatriation and in working and living abroad. Informal networks are also used by more experienced women expatriates to learn of potential vacancies and gain career development on expatriation and repatriation. A formalised women's network is envisaged as being helpful to supplement these links. In a male‐dominated environment, the value of a network for women is appreciated, although concerns are raised that this might further reinforce gender divisions.

Research limitations/implications

Research was limited to a single case study where the intervention had only recently been launched. Further research is needed to evaluate the impact of similar, more established career interventions. Comparative studies are also needed, both within the oil, gas and minerals sector and in other industries.

Practical implications

Employers developing formal networking interventions could benefit from understanding the views of potential users, particularly in respect of the potential limitations of such networks in promoting career development and through the adoption of a gendered approach.

Originality/value

There are relatively few data available on formalised employer actions to set up and run networks specifically for women as career development interventions. This case study provides an insight into how these might be received by – and their potential impact on – female expatriates.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

Keywords

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