*****Apologies for duplicates*****

Dear Colleagues,


for a Special Issue of

Journal of Global Mobility




Paper submission deadline: 1 February 2018


Guest Editors:

Anthony Fee, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Peter Dowling, LaTrobe University, Australia

Allen Engle, Eastern Kentucky University, USA


Expatriation research is diverse in both focus and form. Yet a central organising anchor to these studies has been the ‘expatriation cycle’, sometimes termed the ‘expatriate lifecycle’ or ‘expatriation-repatriate cycle’ (e.g. Harzing & Christensen 2004). While slightly different configurations and terminology exists, ‘expatriation cycle’ is typically used to delineate a series of chronological experiences and HR activities that span three stages of an expatriate assignment: pre-expatriation (e.g. recruitment, selection and preparation for an assignment), expatriation (e.g. expatriates’ cross-cultural adjustment, role and performance during an assignment), and post-expatriation (e.g. expatriate’s readjustment and redeployment in the home country following an assignment).

                      While lacking the explanatory power of theoretically-grounded models, in the 60 years since studies of expatriation began in earnest (Fayerweather 1959) this framework has provided both structure and direction. Over this period the bulk of research has centred on issues associated with overseeing ‘traditional’ forms of expatriation, characterised by particular personnel (typically white males), jobs (professionals, usually managers or technical experts), employers (Western multinationals and their subsidiaries) and placements (short-term, single-destination, organisation-assigned). Researchers have mapped antecedents, correlates and outcomes of major stages of the expatriation cycle, and drawn on the framework to identify particular activities warranting greater empirical and conceptual development; the emergence of repatriation as a topic of study in the 1980s and 1990s (e.g. Harvey 1989) is one example of this. We now know much about the configurations of various HR activities associated with each stage, from recruitment to repatriation.

Despite this progress, several limitations in this body of knowledge have been observed (e.g. Mayrhofer & Reiche, 2014). Notably, in the past decade ‘expatriation’ has revealed itself as more multifarious and complex than previously imagined. While ‘traditional’ forms of expatriation remain commonplace (BGRS 2016), new configurations of expatriation and global careers have emerged (Mayrhofer, Reichel & Sparrow, 2012). As documented in the pages of this journal (e.g. Suutari et al., 2013, Valk & Hannon, 2016) expatriation as a concept, a process and a research field has expanded to include greater variety and flexibility in terms of how international jobs (and careers) are instigated, managed, experienced and evaluated. Increasingly common are ‘non-traditional’ types of expatriates (e.g. McNulty & Hutchings 2016), characterised by changes to expatriates’ demographics, motivations and professions; placements’ aims, destinations and durations; and employing organisations’ origins, status and relationship to the expatriate. Thus, ‘expatriation’ includes work assignments that are short-term, rotational, fly-in-fly-out, self-initiated, or various combinations of these. It encompasses international business travellers, frequent flyers, and/or international commuter marriages (Mäkelä, Sarenpää & McNulty, 2017), and includes positions managed or hosted by a range of ‘non-traditional’ organisations or agents, including multinational organisations from emerging economies, government agencies, international non-government organisations (INGOs), and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). On one level these recent variations may be seen as empirical elaborations on the early explicit understanding that expatriation was a common responses to a wide range of problems and that the precise goals and purposes of expatriation could be firm specific and highly contextual.

One outcome of this diversity is a shift in focus away from viewing expatriation as a single-country, single-placement and/or single-firm assignment and towards a less tightly defined view of globally mobile careers and lifestyles, with both organisations and individuals exploring the use of expatriation in more complex ways (BGRS 2016). While studies have begun to unravel some of the distinct expatriation experiences of these various ‘non-traditional’ configurations (Howe-Walsh & Schyns 2010; McNulty & Brewster 2017; Näsholm 2014; Shaffer et al. 2012), it is timely to consider what these new forms of expatriation mean for our use of the expatriation cycle as an organising framework. That is, how far do we diverge from classical expatriation cycles – necessary to catch emerging patterns of more protean and personalized ‘international assignments’ – before we can no longer say we are talking about expatriation?

Given this diversity and proliferation of international work forms, the objective of this special issue is to re-consider the form, use and purpose of the expatriation cycle. In particular, we seek a range of perspectives that (re)imagine expatriation as a process: the various mechanisms and activities that encompass or support the expatriate experience, the relationships between these, and their relevance to expatriation at a time when placement types, organisational forms, and operating contexts are in flux.   

A number of different research approaches are suitable for inclusion in this special issue. These include original empirical studies (both inductive and deductive), comprehensive meta-analyses, and/or conceptual papers that review and critique existing literature with the view of extending or developing theory. We also encourage submissions addressing different stakeholders (e.g. family, co-workers, home and host business units) and levels of analysis (e.g. individual, team, business unit, organisation or multiple levels of these).

Submissions need not take the full expatriation cycle as the unit of analysis; indeed, insightful papers that address specific stages of the expatriation cycle are welcome. Nonetheless, papers considered for inclusion in this special issue should be positioned in the context of ‘expatriation’ as a holistic experience in unique and more than cursory ways.

While we are open to ideas about topics from prospective authors, an illustrative list of topics and related research questions that we believe fall within the remit of this special issue include:


Submission guidelines & timeframe


To be considered for the special issue, manuscripts must be submitted by 1 February 2018. Submitted papers will undergo a double-blind review process 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. For enquiries regarding the special issue please contact Anthony Fee ([log in to unmask]).


Important dates

Paper submission deadline: 1 February 2018

Acceptance notification: 1 September 2018

Publication:  December 2018



Brookfield Global Relocation Services (2016), Breakthrough to the Future of Global Talent Mobility: 2016 Global Mobility Trends Survey, Brookfield Global Relocation Services, Woodridge, IL.

Fayerweather, J. (1959), The Executive Overseas, Syracuse University Press, New York.

Harvey, M.G. (1989), “Repatriation of corporate executives: An empirical study”, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 131-144.

Harzing, A.W. and Christensen, C. (2004), “Expatriate failure: time to abandon the concept?”, Career Development International, Vol. 9, No. 7, pp. 616-626.

Howe-Walsh, L. and Schyns, B. (2010), “Self-initiated expatriation: Implications for HRM”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 260-273.

Mäkelä, L., K. Sarenpää and Y. McNulty (2017), “International business travelers, short-term assignees and international commuters”, in McNulty, Y. and Selmer, J. (Eds), The Research Handbook of Expatriates, Edward Elgar, London, pp. 276-294.

Mayrhofer, W. and Reiche, B.S. (2014), “Context and global mobility: Diverse global work arrangements”, Journal of Global Mobility, Vol.  2, No. 2, pp. 5-10.

Mayrhofer, W. Reichel, A. and Sparrow, P.R. (2012), “Alternative forms of international working”, in G. Stahl, I. Björkman & S.Morris (Eds), Handbook of Research into International HRM 2nd edn, Edward Elgar, London, pp. 300-327.

McNulty, Y. and Brewster, C. (2017), “Theorizing the meaning(s) of ‘expatriate’: establishing boundary conditions for business expatriates”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 27-61.

McNulty, Y. and Hutchings, K. (2016), “Looking for global talent in all the right places: A critical literature review of non-traditional expatriates”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 27, No. 7, pp. 699-728.

Näsholm, M.H. (2014), “A comparison of intra-and inter-organizational global careers: Repeat expatriates’ and international itinerants’ subjective experiences”, Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 183-202.

Shaffer, M.A., Kraimer, M.L., Chen, Y. and Bolino, M.C. (2012), “Choices, challenges, and career consequences of global work experiences: A review and future agenda”, Journal of Management, Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 1282-1327.

Suutari, V., Brewster, C., Riusala, K. and Syrjäkari, S. (2013), “Managing non-standard international experience: evidence from a Finnish company”, Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 118-138.

Valk, R. and Hannon, S. (2016), “Engaged and energized in the energy industry: Exploring engagement of rotational assignees through the four fundamental pillars of employee engagement”, Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 345-379.

Best regards,


Professor Jan Selmer, Ph.D.
Founding Editor-in-Chief

Journal of Global Mobility (JGM)



Department of Management

Aarhus University

Twitter: @JanSelmer_JGM

Web: [log in to unmask]" target="" id="NoLP">http:[log in to unmask]

New Book: McNulty, Y. & Selmer J. (Eds.) (2017), Research Handbook of Expatriates. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Print copy / Electronic version (chapter 1 and 2 are FREE)

New Article: Lauring, J., Selmer, J. & Kubovcikova, A. (2017), "Personality in Context: Effective Traits for Expatriate Managers at Different Levels", International Journal of Human Resource Managament. Download

New Article: Selmer, J. McNulty, Y., Lauring, J. & Vance, C. (2017), "Who is an Expat-Preneur? Toward a Better Understanding of a Key Talent Sector Supporting International Entrepreneurship", Journal of International Entrepreneurship. Download
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