Research Handbook of Expatriates
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Research Handbook of Expatriates

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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Chapter 14: International business travellers, short-term assignees and international commuters

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.

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