Expatriate research has played an important role in international business and international human resource management research during the last few decades (Welch & Björkman, in press). This is not surprising given the key role expatriates often play in foreign subsidiaries, their high cost, and the challenges they may face in foreign cultures. However, since the early research on expatriate success, the definition of an expatriate and what it means to be successful have expanded (Collings, Scullion, & Morley, 2007; Brewster et al., 2014). While prior research has greatly increased our understanding of the determinants of expatriate success, the literature is criticized for being largely expatriate-centric, particularly focused on corporate expatriates, and with a somewhat singular focus on increasing expatriate cross-cultural adjustment (Takeuchi, 2010; Welch & Björkman; in press). This is problematic because the background, motivation, and experiences of the different types of expatriates, e.g. corporate versus self-initiated expatriates, may vary substantially (Froese & Peltokorpi, 2013). Accordingly, organizations need to concern themselves beyond simply the adjustment of their expatriates, and look at whether the objectives of expatriation have been met – both long and short term, and the impact it has had, and may continue to have, on multiple stakeholders (Reiche, Lazarova, & Shaffer, 2014).
With this comes a greater imperative to broaden our research perspectives. These perspectives should account for a greater range of expatriate types and the increasing presence of women expatriates and expatriates from emerging economies (Brookfield Global Relocation Trends, 2014; Collings et al., 2007; Mayrhofer & Scullion, 2002). When defining expatriate success, our perspectives should also involve a longer time frame (including repatriation, career outcomes, and sustainability), and a wider range of stakeholders directly or indirectly implicated by the expatriation process (Oddou, Osland, Blakeney, 2009; O’Sullivan, 2013). Cross-cultural contact impacts and requires adaptation of all parties involved – not simply the expatriate (Berry, 1997; Caprar, 2012). A multiple stakeholder perspective is also crucial for developing sustainable IHRM expatriation practices. We should also be interested in processes – asking what roles various stakeholders play in the expatriation process, and what effect expatriation may have on these stakeholders. We suggest that stakeholders could include, but are not limited to: the multinational HQ and its subsidiaries, host country nationals (HCNs) within and outside of the workplace, other expatriates in the host unit or in other subsidiaries, spouse/partner, family members, and host communities and nations.
This special issue seeks papers that can change the conversations we will have about expatriation, expand our theoretical horizons, while identifying clear practical and actionable prescriptions for expatriates and the stakeholders. We encourage papers that think outside the proverbial expatriate adjustment box and papers that situate the expatriate in the appropriate context along with the stakeholders implicated by the process. Original quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research, meta-analytic reviews, and theory development are all potentially suitable for inclusion in the special issue. Below is a list of exemplary topics that are consistent with the scope of the special issue:
To be considered for the special issue, manuscripts must be submitted no later than 15th November 2015, 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time. Papers may be submitted prior to this deadline as well. We welcome quantitative, qualitative (including case studies) and conceptual papers that provide unique insights into expatriates in context. Findings and/or conceptualizations 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 5 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 and will be evaluated by at least two reviewers and a special issue editor. The final acceptance is dependent on the review team’s judgments of the paper’s contribution on four key dimensions:
Authors should prepare their manuscripts for blind review according to the Journal of Global Mobility author guidelines, available at www.emeraldinsight.com/jgm.htm. Please remove any information that may potentially reveal the identity of the authors to the reviewers.
Manuscripts should be submitted electronically at: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jgmob. Authors should select the special issue title Expatriates in Context from the drop down menu.
Berry, J. (1997). Immigration, acculturation, and adaptation. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 46, 1, 5–34.
Brewster, C., Bonache, J., Cerdin, J.-L., & Suutari, V. (2014). Exploring expatriate outcomes. International Journal of Human Resource Management. 25, 1921-1937.
Caprar, D.V. (2011). Foreign locals: A cautionary tale on the culture of MNC local employees. Journal of International Business Studies 42, 608-628.
Collings, D.G., Scullion, H., & Morley, M.J. (2007). Changing patterns of global staffing in the multinational enterprise: Challenges to the conventional expatriate assignment and emerging alternatives. Journal of World Business, 42, 198 – 213.
Froese, F.J., & Peltokorpi, V. (2013). Organizational expatriates and self-initiated expatriates: Differences in cross-cultural adjustment and job satisfaction. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24, 1953-1967.
Mayrhofer, W. & Scullion, H. (2002). Female expatriates in international business: empirical evidence from the German clothing industry. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 13, 815-836.
Oddou, G., Osland, J. S., & Blakeney, R. N. (2009). Repatriating knowledge: Variables influencing the "transfer" process. Journal of International Business Studies, 40, 181-199.
O’Sullivan, S. L. (2013). The empowering potential of social media for key stakeholders in the repatriation process. Journal of Global Mobility, 1, 264-286.
Reiche, S., Lazarova, M., & Shaffer, M. (2014). Me, myself and I: From individual-centered to multiple stakeholder perspectives in expatriate research. Panel presented at the Academy of International Business Annual Meeting.
Takeuchi, R. (2010). A critical review of expatriate adjustment research: Progress, emerging trends, and prospects. Journal of Management, 36, 1040-1064.
Welch, D., Björkman, I. (in press). The place of international human resource management in international business. Management International Review, DOI 10.1007/s11575-014-0226-3.
Professor Jan Selmer, Ph.D.
Journal of Global Mobility (JGM)
The Home of Expatriate Management Research (Emerald)
Department of Management
Aarhus BSS - School of Business and Social Sciences