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Global self-initiated corporate expatriate careers: a new era in international assignments?

Yochanan Altman and Yehuda Baruch
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Yehuda Baruch: Tr@jectoires - Pôle Trajectoires - Rouen Business School - Rouen Business School

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Abstract: Purpose - Within the current discourse on contemporary careers and the context of international assignments, this paper seeks to conduct a study of a large European MNC, with the aim of theory development on expatriation/repatriation. Design/methodology/approach - A qualitative study, based on semi-structured interviews in a major financial institution. Findings - Motivation to expatriate falls into two distinct categories - company initiated assignments; and self-initiated, career orientated and/or self-development focused. The authors propose a two dimensional model to depict the emergence of a new expatriation path alongside the traditional one - differentiating those who respond to an international assignment call within a clearly framed career development path; and those embarking on international assignment as, primarily, a personal growth opportunity. A distinctive sub-group of corporate self-initiated expatriates is identified for the first time. Research limitations/implications - A qualitative study within one company. Practical implications - The emergent models could be utilized by HR managers to shape future policies and practices for global assignments. Originality/value - Providing a new model to explicate the relevance of a protean career attitude in a global boundaryless career environment; outlining of new emergent international career trajectories, in particular corporate self-initiated careers.

Date: 2012
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Published in Personnel Review, Emerald, 2012, Vol. 41 (Issue 2), pp 233-255. ⟨10.1108/00483481211200051⟩

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DOI: 10.1108/00483481211200051

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