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Jan Selmer

From a historic perspective, examining 55 years of research, from the 1960s to the 2010s, supplemented by an initial overview of essential academic books on expatriates, 1497 research articles are identified and categorized into 27 major themes and 22 minor themes. Some of the latter are classified as ‘hot’, that is, those that in the future could become major themes. Investigating the scholars behind the quickly growing volume of research on expatriates, it is shown that a few individuals have dominated this development, due to the development of research themes and specific personal circumstances. It is argued that academic research on expatriates has a great future since the long-term trend of the annual average per decade of published academic research articles is increasing at a rapid rate and this is also the trend for the annual average of research articles on expatriates per decade of the major themes. However, the future may not look like the history, as it seldom does, since the main impact may come from new trends in global mobility, international work and changing conditions for such endeavours.

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Edited by Yvonne McNulty and Jan Selmer

The Research Handbook of Expatriates is a comprehensive and carefully designed collection of contributions that provides a nuanced discussion of expatriates and important insights into emerging areas of research. The first of its kind, the Research Handbook includes detailed examinations of the various types of business expatriates including LGBT, self-initiated expatriates, female assignees, and inpatriates, as well as expatriates in diverse communities such as education, military, missionary, sports and ‘Aidland’. Other themes include expatriate performance, adjustment, expatriates to and from developing countries, global talent management, and expatriates’ safety and security. With solid theoretical foundations and essays from the most distinguished academics in the field, the Research Handbook is a ground-breaking must-read for scholars and consultants in the field of expatriation, international management, global HR and business administration.
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Edited by Yvonne McNulty and Jan Selmer

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Edited by Yvonne McNulty and Jan Selmer

This content is available to you

Yvonne McNulty and Jan Selmer

This is the first book to bring together expert researchers in the field of expatriate studies. The need for such a book is timely. The world is becoming smaller with the international movement of individuals – as expatriates, business travellers, highly skilled workers and migrants – at an all time high. Expatriation is being increasingly researched and taught in business schools as part of broader and more general international human resource management (IHRM) and global business courses. Expatriates are increasing in their number and profile, with many different types, and many issues and challenges they must overcome. This Research Handbook of Expatriates brings together the work of some of the world’s leading and up-and-coming scholars to present a solid overview of the field of expatriate studies to date, as well as to inform and excite future academic scholars and practitioners to the possibilities of conducting, collaborating on or utilizing research arising from expatriate studies. In this introductory chapter, we illustrate that expatriation as a teaching and research subject has existed for over 60 years. Although it is often assumed that the birth of expatriate studies occurred in the 1980s with publications by Rosalie Tung and J. Stewart Black, or perhaps a little earlier in the 1970s with studies by Anders Edstrom and Jay Galbraith, a review of extant literature shows that a substantial body of expatriate research existed well before this time. We provide an overview of expatriate studies from 1952 to 1979 highlighting that, while much of this early literature (and most especially pre-1970) was lacking in theoretical grounding and with only a few empirical studies published, it nonetheless provided an initial foundation upon which subsequent research and interest in expatriate studies would come to be based. We similarly highlight research by a core group of early scholars whose names would become synonymous with research about expatriates. Although long forgotten today, we owe a debt of gratitude to Cecil Howard, John Ivancevich, Yoram Ziera, Anant Negandhi, and Edwin Miller (among others) for pioneering early expatriate studies.

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Jan Selmer and Yvonne McNulty

One of the most effective ways for academics to demonstrate a contribution to new knowledge is to publish their research. Publishing, especially in refereed journals, is considered an important – if not essential – ‘ticket to ride’ if you wish to pursue an academic career in the expatriate studies field; in other words – no publishing, no academic career. This chapter is designed to give voice to perspectives about publishing in the field of expatriate studies. We begin by discussing the publish-or-perish dilemma, including the challenges that female academics face in balancing work–family obligations as a result of the pressure to publish high quality scholarship. We then discuss what to publish, including current research themes and where research on expatriates is most needed. This is followed by a discussion of how to publish, from engaging in the peer-review system and selecting co-authors, to the importance of building a publishing pipeline, the practice of writing, and learning to embrace rejection. Next, we discuss where to publish expatriate research, from conference proceedings and new outlets to specialist journals, and the pros and cons of each. We conclude with some personal reflections on the future of academic research on expatriates, and personal recommendations for further reading about getting publishing. We provide an extensive list of references of the best books, articles, chapters, editorials and commentaries in the field of management that can help you to write and to get published in the expatriate studies field. While the chapter has been written with late-stage PhD and early career researchers in mind who may be new to learning the ropes about publishing, others may find the content equally helpful.

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Jan Selmer, Maike Andresen and Jean-Luc Cerdin

There seems to be a limitless demand for human talent, making well-educated people transfer between countries. Research on such international talent flows has traditionally featured organizational expatriates (OEs), who have been assigned and supported by their parent organizations in relocating to a foreign host country. But international assignments have become increasingly complex. Recent developments in international assignments have seen individuals who personally take charge of their careers without the direct involvement of any organization. These expatriates, who themselves make the decision to live and work abroad, have been called self-initiated expatriates (SIEs). For those expatriates, the initiative for leaving the home country comes from the individual, and the move is not supported by any current employer. The literature on SIEs is rapidly emerging but demonstrates a considerable extent of conceptual confusion. That is not only unfortunate, but may have a negative impact on the attempts to increase our knowledge about this important and growing group of internationally mobile individuals. Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to enhance the conceptual coherence of the notion of an SIE by proposing a definition based on a set of conceptual criteria which differentiates SIEs from other types of international movers. Additionally, the chapter will feature recent research on SIEs including their adjustment, performance, personality, demographic characteristics, and reasons to expatriate as well as an agenda of future research on self-initiated expatriates.

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Jan Selmer, Jodie-Lee Trembath and Jakob Lauring

Expatriate academics make up a rapidly growing professional group that is driven by the emergence of an international academic labor market, international staff mobility, and growing numbers of international students. Hence, academics often relocate for job reasons. A reason for that is that they can be characterized by having a high non-organization-specific capital, which makes them particularly mobile in the international labour market. Most research of expatriates has up to now focused on business expatriates. Recently, however, a number of studies of expatriate academics have been published. Such studies are needed since there is evidence that universities are investing a great amount of resources in hiring and retaining international academic staff. It can be argued that the increasing numbers of expatriate academics could make human resource management in universities more problematic, as they present growing challenges for academic institutions since expatriate academics may in some aspects function differently from their local counterparts and also from other types of expatriates. Therefore, it is important to acquire knowledge of this under-researched professional group – not the least since this group contributes highly to the productivity of the university sector. Besides definitions of expatriate academics and their detailed descriptions, this chapter also features their work engagement, adjustment, work-related outcomes and reasons to relocate, as well as a research agenda on future research on expatriate academics.