Edited by Kate Hutchings and Snejina Michailova
Moving abroad under their own steam as self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) has become a recognized career option for individuals (Shaffer, Kraimer, Chen and Bolino, 2012). SIEs have also been positioned as a potential source of talent for corporations (Inkson and King, 2011), but this topic has only recently attracted focused academic interest (see, for example, recent books by Andresen, Al Ariss and Walther, 2012; Hasleberger and Vaiman, 2013 and Reis and Baruch, 2013). The field of research on SIEs has developed from a seminal paper by Inkson, Arthur, Pringle and Barry (1997), which focused on young New Zealanders undertaking their 'Big OE' (a two to three year overseas experience motivated by cultural exchange and adventure), and the much-published field of research on corporate expatriation (CE). Suutari and Brewster (2000) built on this initial work, identifying SIEs as a distinct entity, comprising individuals who travelled abroad outside the corporate context. Subsequently research has been subject to a lack of construct clarity in defining SIEs (Doherty, Richardson and Thorn, 2013), and has advanced alongside attention to the proliferation of other subgroups of internationally mobile individuals (see, for example, Altman and Baruch, 2012; Andresen, Bergdolt and Margenfeld, 2012). Following Doherty et al. (2013), we focus on three key attributes of SIEs - that there must be relocation across a national border (expatriation), the move must be one of individual volition (self-initiated) and the intention must be that the move is temporary.
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