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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Steve McKenna and Julia Richardson

The purpose of this paper is to offer an ontological and methodological alternative to the functionalist paradigm which currently dominates study of the self-initiated

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer an ontological and methodological alternative to the functionalist paradigm which currently dominates study of the self-initiated expatriate (SIE). It argues conceptually, and with a practical example, that actor-network theory (ANT) offers an alternative way forward. While the functionalist study of SIE seeks to generate knowledge of value to organizations, ANT seeks to produce practical knowledge from the viewpoint of the SIE(s).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper critiques the dominant functionalist approach to the study of SIE through ANT. A case history of a geographically mobile professional is offered to support the use of ANT as an ontological and methodological alternative in this field.

Findings

By following the actors through their own stories of mobility the authors argue that it is possible to offer alternative ways of investigating and understanding mobility. In particular, actors enact mobility in unique ways as they move and are, therefore, not easily categorized and in singular classifications, such as the “SIE.”

Originality/value

The study of SIE is an important emerging field of expatriate research. It is currently dominated by the functionalist paradigm. The paper offers an alternative ontological and methodological approach to the study of this field through the use of ANT. In this sense the authors challenge the developing dominant discourse of functionalism currently driving research on this topic.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 February 2012

Yochanan Altman and Yehuda Baruch

Within the current discourse on contemporary careers and the context of international assignments, this paper seeks to conduct a study of a large European MNC, with the…

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Abstract

Purpose

Within the current discourse on contemporary careers and the context of international assignments, this paper seeks to conduct a study of a large European MNC, with the aim of theory development on expatriation/repatriation.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study, based on semi‐structured interviews in a major financial institution.

Findings

Motivation to expatriate falls into two distinct categories – company initiated assignments; and self‐initiated, career orientated and/or self‐development focused. The authors propose a two dimensional model to depict the emergence of a new expatriation path alongside the traditional one – differentiating those who respond to an international assignment call within a clearly framed career development path; and those embarking on international assignment as, primarily, a personal growth opportunity. A distinctive sub‐group of corporate self‐initiated expatriates is identified for the first time.

Research limitations/implications

A qualitative study within one company.

Practical implications

The emergent models could be utilized by HR managers to shape future policies and practices for global assignments.

Originality/value

Providing a new model to explicate the relevance of a protean career attitude in a global boundaryless career environment; outlining of new emergent international career trajectories, in particular corporate self‐initiated careers.

Article
Publication date: 2 December 2014

Vivien Supangco and Wolfgang Mayrhofer

The purpose of this paper is to address the following questions: what factors affect work role transition outcomes of Filipino employees in Singapore? What is the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the following questions: what factors affect work role transition outcomes of Filipino employees in Singapore? What is the influence of type of expatriation on work role transition outcomes? Two outcomes of interest are work adjustment and job satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

An e-mail containing the link to a web-based structured questionnaire was sent to Filipinos working in local and multinational organizations in Singapore, who were also encouraged to forward the link to other Filipinos working in Singapore. The number of respondents totals 106. We used regression analysis to address the research question.

Findings

Work adjustment and job satisfaction do not share common factors, indicating differences in their dynamics. Work adjustment is singly explained by the individual factor: the self-efficacy beliefs of the global employees. It is not influenced by the content and context of work but by the disposition of the individual alone. On the other hand, job satisfaction is explained by job factors (role discretion and role conflict) and organizational or job context factors (supervisory support and perceived organizational support). It is not explained by self-efficacy belief. Both work role adjustment and job satisfaction are not influenced by whether or not the global employee is company assigned or self-initiated.

Research limitations/implications

Given the nonprobabilistic sampling employed, results of the study, in a strict sense, apply only to the individuals who participated in the survey. In addition, cross-sectional nature of the study also limits inference on causality.

Practical implications

The null results of gender, marital status, and age imply that these are not good indicators of success and are not a good basis for selection. However, one important dimension to consider in recruitment is self-efficacy belief. Managers also need to nurture self-efficacy of existing employees by enabling them to experience success and for the managers to consciously develop and maintain high self-efficacy belief themselves to serve as role model of employees. Moreover, organizations can enhance and manage job satisfaction by providing support from both the supervisor and the organization, and designing jobs that provide role discretion and less role conflict. In addition, the null result of type of expatriation suggests that pre-departure support erodes through time such that companies that send employees to foreign subsidiaries must continue to provide support beyond the pre-departure phase and highlight the role of host country operations in providing job content and context conducive to job satisfaction.

Originality/value

This study furthers the understanding of work role transition outcomes of people from Asia and the developing world who work in countries other than their own. It also broadens our perspective of work role transition by looking at two outcomes: work adjustment and job satisfaction. Moreover, this study provides an important contribution to the literature by examining the differences in outcomes of company assigned and self-initiated global employees.

Article
Publication date: 15 February 2013

Noeleen Doherty, Julia Richardson and Kaye Thorn

This special issue seeks to scope the past, present and future study of those individuals who independently journey abroad for work – the self‐initiated expatriate – a…

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Abstract

Purpose

This special issue seeks to scope the past, present and future study of those individuals who independently journey abroad for work – the self‐initiated expatriate – a topic which is now attracting increasing attention among management scholars and practitioners alike.

Design/methodology/approach

This introductory paper takes the form of a brief commentary of the development of the field and a synthesis of the papers in this special edition.

Findings

Beginning in the late 1990s with a slow trickle of papers exploring the experiences of individuals who had initiated their own expatriation, our understanding of self‐initiated expatriates (SIEs) and self‐initiated expatriation (SIE) has developed exponentially. This development has given rise to a growing awareness of this form of mobility as a potentially powerful force in the increasingly varied global labour market. Yet, as this special issue will argue, there is still a range of conceptual, theoretical and empirical challenges in the study of SIEs, not least of which is a lack of clarity in how the term is used and understood. Despite the expansion of the field, it has hitherto focused primarily on the experiences of professional SIEs moving from and between developed countries. The papers in this issue therefore, address the need for both greater conceptual clarity and for greater empirical diversity.

Originality/value

The papers included in this special issue each address fundamental issues in the study of the SIE population and offer perspectives that further our understanding of this group and their experiences.

Details

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

Keywords

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.

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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

Article
Publication date: 12 May 2022

Olivier Wurtz

This work sheds new light on the roles of gender, age and expatriation type—self-initiated expatriate (SIE) vs. assigned expatriate (AE)—by applying the transactional…

Abstract

Purpose

This work sheds new light on the roles of gender, age and expatriation type—self-initiated expatriate (SIE) vs. assigned expatriate (AE)—by applying the transactional theory of stress and coping (and a validated measurement tool) to the expatriation experience.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on quantitative data from 448 expatriates, the authors examined the coping mechanisms (cognitions and actions) employed by senior and younger expatriates, females and males and SIE and AEs when they face hardships while working abroad.

Findings

Younger expatriates display less active problem-solving coping, planning, and restraint and consume more alcohol and drugs. Female expatriates express their emotions and use social support more than their male counterparts. SIEs rely on emotional social support more than AEs.

Practical implications

Recognizing that individual repertoires of responses to expatriate challenges are bounded by personal characteristics—such as age, gender, and expatriation type—should improve efforts to support expatriates. This research suggests that expatriate support should be tailored. It offers indications on who needs what.

Originality/value

This work provides a fresh perspective and new insights into classic topics (age, gender, and expatriation type). Individuals react differently abroad. They have different resources and face different demands (to a certain extent) that lead to different coping reactions. Older people manage their emotions better, and female expatriates and SIEs gather and use support; these abilities are assets abroad.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2020

Seok-Young Oh and Kyoungjin Jang

The purpose of this study is to identify how young South Korean self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) have adjusted to their work and to verify the role of workplace learning…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify how young South Korean self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) have adjusted to their work and to verify the role of workplace learning activities as work adjustment processes in the relationship between work adjustment resources and outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a mixed-method approach, beginning with a qualitative study, followed by a quantitative study.

Findings

The main findings of the qualitative study indicated two types of SIE personal characteristics (ability to embrace cultural differences and entrepreneurship), their participation in training programs and that a supportive work environment which facilitates their work adjustment. Workplace learning, which led to role clarification within their organizations, is also critical for adjustment. Based on these findings, the quantitative research study examined the effects of personal and contextual factors on workplace learning and adjustment (n = 120). The quantitative part of the study found cultural intelligence (CQ), entrepreneurship, training programs and supportive environments were positively related to sociocultural adjustment through the work adjustment process.

Research limitations/implications

As work adjustment is an important predictor of increased sociocultural adjustment among SIEs, organizations should build learning-supportive climates to promote workplace learning and seek people with appropriate characteristics for expatriation. Further studies should expand participant sample sizes to represent a wider population of SIEs.

Originality/value

Extant literature on SIEs mainly explored their performance and management. This study explores their adjustment processes through the perspective of workplace learning.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 December 2019

Hajer Khedher and Muhammad Ali Asadullah

This paper aims to explore the lived experiences of Tunisian self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) for social and organizational support that they experienced during their…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the lived experiences of Tunisian self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) for social and organizational support that they experienced during their international expatriation assignment in a host country.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is a qualitative research. The data were collected from Tunisian Expatriates through semi-structured interviews.

Findings

This study has revealed diverse some interesting insights about the lived experiences of Tunisian SIEs about the support which they received from their family members, social network and members of the host-country organization. This study has also introduced a scale that can be used for measuring the level of social and organizational support received by SIEs.

Practical implications

This study has offered some implications for the researchers and professionals to advance research and practice to regulate the lived experiences of SIEs.

Originality/value

This study has highlighted the lived experiences of SIEs for social and organizational support in the Tunisian context representing the collectivist Muslim society.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 44 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 June 2020

David R. Ellis, Kaye Thorn and Christian Yao

While there is a burgeoning literature on self-initiated expatriates (SIEs), the emphasis has been on expatriation not repatriation. The purpose of this paper therefore is…

Abstract

Purpose

While there is a burgeoning literature on self-initiated expatriates (SIEs), the emphasis has been on expatriation not repatriation. The purpose of this paper therefore is to explore how repatriating SIEs perceive the experience of repatriation compared with their pre-repatriation expectations. Further, we examine the seminal work of Black et al. (1992) in the light of current day realities.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative research draws on interviews with SIE New Zealanders returning home. It is an exploratory longitudinal study, based on interview data collected prior to (n = 32), and after (n = 27) repatriation, comparing expectations and experiences of repatriation.

Findings

Findings show that there is a strong level of congruence between the expectations of the return and their experience of repatriation. This congruence eases the transition and mitigates the impact of reverse culture shock. We revise Black et al.'s framework of repatriation adjustment to more accurately reflect the expectations and experiences of repatriating SIEs, recognising the importance of individual agency and the impact of today's technological advances on repatriation.

Research limitations/implications

The contributions of this paper include clarification of repatriating SIEs. Further, through the revision of the framework, we identify new areas of research that would aid our understanding of repatriating SIEs and lead to the development of a more detailed model. We highlight the interplay between variables showing how these might mitigate the shock of repatriation.

Originality/value

Repatriation is an under-researched phase of the SIE, and this study provides empirical data that contributes to our understanding of the construct. Black et al.'s framework of repatriation adjustment is revised in the context of contemporary SIE, highlighting the holistic nature of self-initiated expatriation and repatriation, viewing the events not as discrete, but as a continuum of time.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 September 2017

Kowoon Kim and Mary Ann Von Glinow

The purpose of this paper is to add to the understanding of the international work experiences of lesbian and gay self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) with a particular focus…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to add to the understanding of the international work experiences of lesbian and gay self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) with a particular focus on the effects of different contexts on their disclosure decisions. In doing so, this study responds to the call for more empirical and extensive studies of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) expatriates.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on in-depth analysis of four interviews of lesbian and gay SIEs.

Findings

The findings presented in this paper support three contextual determinants – personal, organizational, and country-level context. These contextual determinants significantly influence lesbian and gay SIEs’ disclosure decisions and their overall international work experience.

Originality/value

Given the rapid globalization and dynamic business environment, workforce diversity has become a business imperative over the past few decades. Diversity in today’s workforce includes not simply gender and racial diversity, but also age, culture, sexual orientation, religion, education, and disabilities as primary categories of diversity. Moreover, new technologies require highly skilled labor the world over, exacerbating existing global talent shortages. These advancements in technology, accompanied by massive shortfalls in skilled labor, have expanded the pool of potential expatriates to include those non-traditional ones who have been excluded from international assignments. Particularly, as LGBT rights to equal employment opportunity and their potential contributions to international assignments have been increasingly recognized worldwide in recent years, attention to LGBT expatriates has grown exponentially. Nevertheless, neither their experiences as lesbian and gay SIEs in international assignments nor the effects of contexts on those experiences, including disclosure decisions, have yet to be fully explored. In this sense, this paper provides a contribution to the deeper understanding of lesbian and gay SIEs in multidimensional contexts of an international assignment. Although the study examined lesbian and gay expatriates, results suggest insights into the entire LGBT expatriate community.

Details

Journal of Global Mobility, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

Keywords

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