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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

This content is available to you

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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Yvonne McNulty and Chris Brewster

In this chapter, we provide an overview of the conceptual development of business expatriates over the past 50 years. We do so in light of the rapid growth in new forms of expatriates and other types of international work, and due to an increasing proliferation of terms and sloppy application of concepts in the field of expatriate studies most especially over the last decade. Our goal is to narrow the focus to establish construct clarity and to develop a theory-specific statement about business expatriates. Our intention is three-fold: (1) to illustrate poor construct clarity by demonstrating that the word ‘expatriate’ no longer adequately describes the concept it claims to investigate in management studies; (2) to assist the field of expatriate studies to be clearer about whom it is actually researching; and, (3) to stimulate and provoke a necessary debate towards improving conceptualization of the business expatriate concept. We begin by defining expatriates more broadly and providing an overview of the categorization of international work experiences. We then critique the conceptualization of business expatriates by first discussing the problem of terminological confusion in the field of expatriate studies in general and then developing a clearer theory-specific statement about business expatriates in particular. Next, we examine business expatriates in the literature and categorize them into two streams – organization-assigned expatriates (AEs) and self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) – including in each stream their various types and forms. Critiquing the literature to determine the distinction between business expatriates and sojourners, migrants and business travellers follows this. Lastly we draw some conclusions and provide a glossary of terms for future research.

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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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Liisa Mäkelä, Kati Saarenpää and Yvonne McNulty

Internationalization has dramatically increased in business life in the past few decades and therefore demand for highly skilled workers who are internationally mobile and able to perform their challenging jobs effectively has increased. Working internationally can be organized in several different ways, but in this particular chapter we will focus on three types of international employees; flexpatriates, international commuters, and short-term assignees. We provide literature review concerning all these three different types of international employees and empirical evidence focusing on flexpatriates and commuters. Both similarities and differences were found as well as positive and negative outcomes. As practical implications we suggest that in order to avoid negative impacts on both physical and psychological health and negative implications for the private life of non-traditional types of international assignees, HR practices and travel policies should offer organizational support and take account of an assignee’s individual needs and family situation. It is important to understand that international work within organizations is not a stable and uniform phenomenon, and organizations should create policies and practices acknowledging the specific features related to, for instance, flexpatriates, international commuters and short-term assignees. Poorly designed and implemented HR practices can expose organizations to the loss of critical knowledge.