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Article
Publication date: 10 February 2021

Dirk Holtbrügge

International human resource management research has only recently started to recognize the many millions of people who engage with the international labor market as…

Abstract

Purpose

International human resource management research has only recently started to recognize the many millions of people who engage with the international labor market as low-skilled self-initiated expatriates. In contrast to company-assigned expatriates, they predominantly come from less-developed countries (often from rural areas) and independently decide to pursue an international career. The aim of this study is apply an expatriate-centered perspective and explore how expatriates at the base of the pyramid perceive the conditions of their international employment.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a qualitative study among self-initiated expatriates in the tourism and hospitality industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Findings

Two theoretical categories that reflect the evaluation of expatriate employment were identified, namely the social comparison with friends and family who stayed at home as well as with other expatriates and locals and the temporal comparison to the situation before the expatriation and the prospective situation after the expatriation. Both categories largely differ from the concepts and categories prevalent in the expatriate literature.

Research limitations/implications

The study contributes to the understanding of the temporal and transitory dimensions of expatriation, which have been barely addressed in the academic literature. It shows that self-initiated expatriation often represents a break in the professional and personal biography. It is less perceived as linear continuation of a steadily advancing career path than a restart or springboard to the future. The results are situated in the tourism and hospitality sector in the UAE and cannot be generalized to other countries and industries.

Practical implications

The study emphasizes the relevance of social inclusion, equal opportunities, a safe work environment and a relaxed corporate culture for expatriates at the base of the pyramid.

Originality/value

While research about self-initiated expatriates usually compares them with company-backed assignees, this comparison is not salient in the narratives of the interviewees in this study. Instead, low-skilled self-initiated expatriates predominately compare their current foreign assignment with the situation in their home country. This social comparison reflects their perceived reality of life better than a fictional comparison with highly skilled and company-assigned expatriates that is prevalent in the academic expatriation literature. By emphasizing an expatriate-centered perspective, the study supports and extends Piore's (1979) application of segmented labor market theory.

Details

Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 3 September 2016

Jan Selmer, Jakob Lauring, Ling Eleanor Zhang and Charlotte Jonasson

In this chapter, we focus on expatriate CEOs who are assigned by the parent company to work in a subsidiary and compare them to those who themselves have initiated to work…

Abstract

Purpose

In this chapter, we focus on expatriate CEOs who are assigned by the parent company to work in a subsidiary and compare them to those who themselves have initiated to work abroad as CEOs. Since we do not know much about these individuals, we direct our attention to: (1) who they are (demographics), (2) what they are like (personality), and (3) how they perform (job performance).

Methodology/approach

Data was sought from 93 assigned expatriate CEOs and 94 self-initiated expatriate CEOs in China.

Findings

Our findings demonstrate that in terms of demography, self-initiated CEOs were more experienced than assigned CEOs. With regard to personality, we found difference in self-control and dispositional anger: Assigned expatriate CEOs had more self-control and less angry temperament than their self-initiated counterparts. Finally, we found assigned expatriate CEOs to rate their job performance higher than self-initiated CEOs.

Originality/value

Although there may not always be immediate benefits, career consideration often plays a role when individuals choose whether to become an expatriate. For many years, organizations have used expatriation to develop talented managers for high-level positions in the home country. Recently, however, a new trend has emerged. Talented top managers are no longer expatriated only from within parent companies to subsidiaries. Self-initiated expatriates with no prior affiliation in the parent company are increasingly used to fill top management positions in subsidiaries.

Details

Global Talent Management and Staffing in MNEs
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-353-5

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 July 2012

Jan Selmer and Jakob Lauring

Through a large‐scale quantitative study, this paper aims to test and extend the qualitative findings of Richardson and McKenna and of Osland on reasons to expatriate and…

Abstract

Purpose

Through a large‐scale quantitative study, this paper aims to test and extend the qualitative findings of Richardson and McKenna and of Osland on reasons to expatriate and relate them to work outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Examining how reasons to expatriate may affect work outcomes, quantitative data was collected from self‐initiated expatriate academics from 60 countries employed in 35 universities in five northern European countries.

Findings

Results mostly indicated support for the proposed hypotheses. The most striking finding was the apparently uniformly destructive influence of behaviour associated with escape from one's previous life as a reason to expatriate on all of the studied work outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

The self‐developed scales measuring reasons for self‐initiated expatriates to expatriate may have been inadequate to capture all relevant aspects of their behavioural intentions and the data from the retrospective type of questioning regarding the original reasons to expatriate may have been biased by memory effects.

Practical implications

Any organization recruiting self‐initiated expatriates may want to inquire about the reasons for them to expatriate. Although there may be a plethora of other requirements on job applicants, the findings of this study may be used as contributing to additional hiring criteria.

Originality/value

Most of the fast growing literature on business expatriates has focused on organizational expatriates who have been assigned by their parent companies to the foreign location. However, there is much less research on self‐initiated expatriates, who themselves have decided to expatriate to work abroad.

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Book part
Publication date: 3 September 2016

Ying Guo, Hussain G. Rammal and Peter J. Dowling

The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of SIEs’ career development through international assignment. In particular, the research focus is on career capital…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of SIEs’ career development through international assignment. In particular, the research focus is on career capital acquirement and development of SIEs through their international assignment in China.

Methodology/approach

We review studies on SIEs and comparative studies between SIEs and OEs. We apply the career capital theory to discuss SIEs’ career capital development in terms of knowing-how, knowing-why and knowing-whom through expatriation assignment in China.

Findings

This chapter focuses on SIEs’ career capital accumulation through international assignments in China, and we develop three propositions that will guide future studies: the knowing-whom career capital development of SIEs through expatriation is increased more in network quantity than network quality in China; the knowing-why career capital development of SIEs through expatriation is influenced by the age and career stage of SIEs; and the knowing-how career capital development of SIEs through expatriation — task-related skills and local engagement skills — is influenced by the SIE’s intercultural ability and organization support respectively.

Practical implications

In practice, a better understanding of SIEs’ career capital development in terms of knowing-how, knowing-why and knowing-whom help companies make the decision to select the relevant staffing pattern. This study also has practical implications in relation to the design and selection of the training, learning and development activities provided to the employees.

Originality/value

The chapter contributes to the expatriate management literature by focusing on SIEs’ career development through their international assignment in China. SIEs’ career development is related to their cross-cultural adjustment and has impacts on the completion and success of the expatriation assignment.

Details

Global Talent Management and Staffing in MNEs
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-353-5

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Malin H. Näsholm

Although research has shown differences between self-initiated experiences and expatriation, this differentiation has rarely been made when it comes to more long-term…

Abstract

Purpose

Although research has shown differences between self-initiated experiences and expatriation, this differentiation has rarely been made when it comes to more long-term global careers. The purpose of this paper is to identify similarities and differences between repeat expatriates and international itinerants in their career paths, subjective experiences, and narratives of how they relate to their context.

Design/methodology/approach

A narrative approach was used and interviews were conducted with ten repeat expatriates and ten international itinerants. The career paths of the 20 Swedish global careerists and how they narrate their careers are analyzed, and the two types of global careerists are compared.

Findings

Results show that the repeat expatriates and international itinerants differ in their subjective experiences of global careers, and how they narrate them. Three broad domains are identified that integrate a range of issues that are important for global careerists. These domains are the organization and career domain, the country and culture domain, and the family, communities, and networks domain. The repeat expatriates and international itinerants differ in how they relate to these and what is important to them.

Practical implications

The differences found have implications for organizations in terms of recruitment, management, and retention of a global talent pool.

Originality/value

This research contributes to the understanding of subjective experiences of global careers and integrates a range of aspects in the context of global careerists that are important to them. Moreover, it contributes to the understanding of global careers by differentiating between those with intra- and inter-organizational global careers.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 February 2010

Ingo Forstenlechner

The purpose of this paper is to add to knowledge on the environment of self‐initiated expatriates and their perception of justice in their host country, to identify…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to add to knowledge on the environment of self‐initiated expatriates and their perception of justice in their host country, to identify whether the concept of perceived host country justice applies to, or is relevant to, self‐initiated expatriates.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 33 interviews were conducted in two host countries and responses were clustered to identify emerging themes.

Findings

Self‐initiated expatriates perceive justice and support from their host country in a similar way to how employees perceive organizational justice, though the consequences may not follow negative perception as quickly as they do in the organizational context.

Originality/value

This paper builds on a new subject perspective, there is no previous literature aiming to transfer perception of justice models from an organizational perspective to a national level.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 12 May 2020

Chie Yorozu

Japan has recently opened its doors to welcome them in order to reduce the labour shortage in the domestic market. Peltokorpi and Froese (2009) indicated that Japan has a…

Abstract

Purpose

Japan has recently opened its doors to welcome them in order to reduce the labour shortage in the domestic market. Peltokorpi and Froese (2009) indicated that Japan has a challenging workplace and system for foreigners. It is clear that Japanese firms have not really been ready to take on self-initiated expatriates in spite of their rapid acceptance of them. This research, therefore aims to explore how international labourers have worked in Japan and how well they have really been fitted into the unique Japanese work environment, especially its HR system.

Design/methodology/approach

This research examined the issues from the both angle of Japanese firms and from the point of view of international labour through interview-based qualitative research method. The author analysed both data gained from 16 Japanese staff members including human resource management staff members of leading Japanese firms and 40 international workers. The data were analysed through ethnographical investigations of the current situation between Japanese firms and international labour. There has still been a lack of studies using interview-based qualitative method as introduced under the literature reviews.

Findings

Although the issues occurring in the UK and US as regards pay and discrimination from local workers (e.g. Baruch et al., 2013) seem not to be shared by international workers in Japanese firms, other unique issues have arisen under the traditional HR system. There is a gap between Japanese firms' expectations and international labour' expectations; the former expects the latter to stay for the long term, while the latter prefers variety of job experiences in order to quickly develop skills. Under the traditional Japanese HR system, both sides seem to suffer if they work together for long.

Originality/value

The relationship between international labour in Japan and Japanese firms has been examined. Such both angles brought about expectation gap between both sides as mentioned above. While Japanese staff members have enjoyed the benefits of the secure HR system (Dore, 2000), self-initiated expatriates do not necessarily need these benefits.

Details

Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, vol. 8 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2010

Torsten Biemann and Maike Andresen

This paper aims to analyze the differences between assigned expatriates (AEs) and self‐initiated expatriates (SEs) in management and executive positions. The basic…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyze the differences between assigned expatriates (AEs) and self‐initiated expatriates (SEs) in management and executive positions. The basic research question is how far SEs and AEs differ with respect to their reasons for working internationally and regarding their career aspirations and orientations, and in what way their individual career management differs.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 159 expatriate managers completed an online questionnaire in German. The questionnaire covered psychological constructs and the participating managers' career histories.

Findings

It is shown that SEs start their international careers at a younger age, have a higher organizational mobility, and expect higher benefits from international experiences for their future careers. Moreover, career orientation remains relatively stable in SEs over different age groups, whereas it declines for AEs with increasing age.

Research limitations/implications

The study design is cross‐sectional and based on self‐reports, which makes causal explanations of the results difficult and increases the risk of common method bias.

Practical implications

Specific personnel management requirements regarding SEs in contrast to AEs are pointed out especially in the fields of recruitment, retention and career management, which can help support companies in building up a pool of global managers.

Originality/value

The paper adds valuable new insights to the literature on expatriate work and gives further evidence that SEs form a group that has been overlooked for a long time, even though it differs significantly from traditional expatriates who are sent abroad by their employing companies to return some years later.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Article
Publication date: 24 August 2010

Kevin Schoepp and Ingo Forstenlechner

The purpose of this paper is to add to knowledge on the environment of self‐initiated expatriates and the importance of family in determining expatriate retention. It…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to add to knowledge on the environment of self‐initiated expatriates and the importance of family in determining expatriate retention. It seeks to explore the role of family in an environment vastly different to that of previous research, one where expatriates are outnumbering citizens four to one. Further, the paper aims to explore familial adjustment differences that emerge amongst the different demographic segments within this expatriate majority environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis is based on survey data obtained from 364 self‐initiated expatriates. Beyond a thorough demographic analysis providing additional background, data to test hypotheses were analyzed using SPSS and, where suitable, independent samples t‐test or one‐way ANOVA.

Findings

Evidence was found of what can be described as an environment easing expatriate adjustment as well as questioning the impact of many of the problems previously identified in literature on expatriates. Findings show an environment where some of the stressors associated with living abroad have been mitigated and family has more or less become a motivation to stay rather than to leave. In addition, the demographic analysis of expatriate faculty adds to knowledge about the globalization of higher education.

Practical implications

Definitions of what constitutes a hardship posting for expatriates may need to be revisited, taking into account national demographic characteristics. Current thinking on the expatriate family should also consider different settings where family may actually be a motivation to remain.

Originality/value

This paper provides a new perspective, as previous literature suggested family to be almost exclusively a reason for expatriate difficulties. Further, little focus has been made on countries where expatriates represent a large share or the majority of the population such as in several of the Arabian Gulf countries.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 16 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2013

Noeleen Doherty, Julia Richardson and Kaye Thorn

This paper aims to move towards clarification of the self‐initiated expatriate/expatriation construct with the aim of extending and deepening theory development in the field.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to move towards clarification of the self‐initiated expatriate/expatriation construct with the aim of extending and deepening theory development in the field.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on Suddaby's think piece on construct clarity, this paper applies his proposed four elements; definitional clarity, scope conditions, relationships between constructs and coherence, in order to clarify the SIE construct.

Findings

The discussion examines the “problem of definition” and its impact on SIE scholarship. The spatial, temporal and value‐laden constraints that must be considered by SIE scholars are expounded, and the links between SIE research and career theory are developed. From this, potential research agendas are proposed.

Research limitations/implications

This is a conceptual piece which, rather than giving precise research data, encourages further thinking in the field.

Originality/value

Although the definitional difficulties of SIEs have been identified in previous literature, this is the first attempt to clarify the boundaries of SIE and its interconnectedness with other related constructs.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

Keywords

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