for a special issue of the

International Journal of Human Resource Management




Paper submission deadline: 31st January 2015 31st January 2014


Guest Editors:

Yvonne McNulty and Kate Hutchings


It has been suggested that for nearly 50 years a steady stream of academic research has studied traditional, organizationally-assigned expatriates (Adler, 2002; Taylor, Napier, & Mayrhofer, 2002; Vaiman & Haslberger, 2013), whom have typically been senior, Western, males in their late 40s or early 50s, with an accompanying female spouse and children. Over the past decade the profile of the traditional expatriate has changed (see Brookfield Global Relocation Services, 2012), largely because society, particularly in the Western world, reflects considerable deviation from the traditional household composition of the past: fewer nuclear families, smaller numbers of household members, and more couples living together out of wedlock often with children (Duxbury, Lyons, & Higgins, 2007; Office for National Statistics, 2012). Undoubtedly, the global talent pool today is staffed with more non-traditional expatriates than ever before – among them executive women, married couples without children, female breadwinners, single and unaccompanied men and women, younger early-career people, empty-nesters and semi-retired people over 60, split families, and same-sex partnerships. Yet, the experiences of women and men within this non-traditional expatriate population are not well known.


In this Special Issue, we invite submissions focused on non-traditional expatriates. We define non-traditional expatriates as including the following types of arrangements (noting that this may not be an exhaustive list):

  • Status-reversal marriages/partnerships (female expatriates) with a male ‘trailing spouse’ where the primary income is generated by the wife,
  • Single expatriates unaccompanied by a partner or children, including split families where an assignee’s immediate family members remain in the home country or prior location,
  • ‘Empty-nesters’ or semi-retired expatriates over the age of 60,
  • Expatriate couples cohabitating outside of legal marriages, with or without accompanying children,
  • Blended expatriate families with step-children from prior relationships subject to custodial arrangements and not sharing the same family name,
  • Expatriate families adopting foreign children in the host-country during an assignment,
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender expatriate partnerships, with or without children,
  • Single parents with or without international custody arrangements,
  • Expatriates with special needs children, and
  • Expatriates with multigenerational responsibilities, i.e. accompanied on assignment by elderly parents or other family members.


Our goal in this Special Issue is to explore the experiences of non-traditional expatriates and in doing so contribute to balancing the picture that existing research provides of the profile of expatriates. Specifically, we aim to: (i) address the gap in research that has not sufficiently addressed the experiences of this segment of the global talent pool; and (ii) propose a future research agenda to guide more scholarly work in this area. Topics that might be explored (among others) include:

  • What are the similarities and differences in the experiences of non-traditional and traditional expatriates?
  • Who is a non-traditional expatriate?
  • How represented are non-traditional expatriates among the global talent pool?
  • What are the reasons for non-traditional expatriates accepting international assignments or opting out of international assignment opportunities altogether?
  • What are the legal, social, physical, emotional, psychological and policy challenges that non-traditional expatriates must overcome when deciding to expatriate?
  • Is the ‘glass border’ real and does it act as a deterrent to expatriate for non-traditional assignees?
  • What are the factors that contribute to the success of non-traditional expatriates on international assignments?
  • What are the unique needs of non-traditional expatriates and what support do they receive from organisations, other expatriates, and host country nationals?
  • To what extent do non-traditional expatriates favour a particular type of assignment, assignment duration, or assignment location, and why?

Submission guidelines

We welcome quantitative, qualitative (including case studies) and conceptual papers that provide unique insights into non-traditional expatriates and non-traditional expatriation. Single-country studies are also welcome provided the focus remains on topic. Findings and/or conceptualisations should have theoretical and policy implications, and seek to inform management practice. The editors of the Special Issue will be pleased to discuss initial ideas for papers via email.

Submitted papers must be based on original material not under consideration by any other journal or publishing outlet. The editors will select up to 8 papers to be included in the special issue, but other submissions may be considered for other issues of the journal. All papers will be subject to a double-blind peer review in accordance with the journal guidelines.


Manuscripts should be submitted online using the International Journal of Human Resource Management ScholarOne Manuscripts site ( and in accordance with the author guidelines on the journal’s home page. New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged onto the site submissions should be made via the Author Centre. To submit your manuscript to the Special Issue on ‘Non-Traditional Expatriates’, choose the title of the Special Issue from the Manuscript Type list. When you arrive at the ‘Details and Comments’ page, answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘Is this manuscript a candidate for a special issue’ and insert the title of the special issue in the text field provided.


Important dates

Paper submission deadline: 31st January 2015 31st January 2014

Acceptance notification: 30 April 2015

Publication: 2015



Adler, N. 2002. Global managers: No longer men alone. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 13(5): 743-760.

Brookfield Global Relocation Services. 2012. Global relocation trends survey report. Woodridge, IL.

Duxbury, L., Lyons, S., & Higgins, C. 2007. Dual-income families in the new millenium: Reconceptualizing family type. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 9(4): 472-486.

Office for National Statistics. 2012. Comparing data sources on families and households. South Wales, UK: Office for National Statistics.

Taylor, S., Napier, N., & Mayrhofer, W. 2002. Women in global business: Introduction. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 13(5): 739-742.

Vaiman, V., & Haslberger, A. 2013. Managing talent of self-initiated expatriates: A neglected source of the global talent flow. In V. Vaiman, & A. Haslberger (Eds.), Managing Talent of Self-initiated Expatriates: 1-15. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Yvonne McNulty

SIM University

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Kate Hutchings

Griffith University

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