Embeddedness and the Repatriation Intention of Assigned and Self-Initiated Expatriates

44 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2018

See all articles by Johannes Meuer

Johannes Meuer

ETH Zurich

Michèle Angstmann

University of Zurich

Christian Troester

Kühne Logistics University

Uschi Backes-Gellner

University of Zurich - Institute for Business Administration; Swiss Leading House

Kerstin Pull

University of Tuebingen - School of Business and Economics

Date Written: October 2017

Abstract

Expatriation research has been intrigued by the question of how to prevent the unplanned return of expatriates to their home country. Although a majority of studies have focused on assigned expatriates (AEs), only recently have researchers expanded the scope of analysis by focusing on self-initiated expatriates (SIEs). For SIEs, research has identified job embeddedness as a key explanatory concept for early repatriation without yet acknowledging its potential to also explain the early expatriation of AEs. However, because AEs and SIEs differ in important motivational and behavioural aspects, the lack of comparative studies prohibits a deeper understanding of the mechanisms through which job embeddedness influences early repatriation. We build on belongingness theory to conceptualize early repatriation as a compensatory reaction of expatriates to an inhibited need to belong. Using a unique sample of 345 expatriates from 40 countries, we show that off-the-job embeddedness is more important for explaining the repatriation intention of AEs than of SIEs, whereas on-the-job embeddedness is more important for explaining the repatriation of SIEs compared to AEs. Our integrative model carries important theoretical implications for expatriation research and provides managerial implications for recruiting and retaining AEs and SIEs.

Keywords: Expatriation, Embeddedness, Repatriation Intention, Assigned Expatriates, Self-Initiated Expatriates, International Human Resource Management

Suggested Citation

Meuer, Johannes and Angstmann, Michèle and Troester, Christian and Backes-Gellner, Uschi and Pull, Kerstin, Embeddedness and the Repatriation Intention of Assigned and Self-Initiated Expatriates (October 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3110768 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3110768

Johannes Meuer (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Michèle Angstmann

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

Christian Troester

Kühne Logistics University ( email )

Großer Grasbrook 17
Hamburg, 20457
Germany

Uschi Backes-Gellner

University of Zurich - Institute for Business Administration ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
8032 Zurich
Switzerland
+41 44 6344281 (Phone)
+41 44 6344370 (Fax)

Swiss Leading House ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

Kerstin Pull

University of Tuebingen - School of Business and Economics ( email )

Nauklerstr. 47
Tuebingen, D-72074
Germany

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