Meuer, Johannes, Michèle Angstmann and Christian Tröster (2016)

Embeddedness and the Repatriation Intention of Company-backed and Self-initiated Expatriates (Best Paper)

in: Humphreys, John (ed.): The 76th Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, (2016).

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Abstract: Expatriation research has predominantly focused on company-backed expatriates (CBEs), who are sent abroad by their employer, and on examining how their levels of on-the-job embeddedness affect their intention to prematurely repatriate. Yet, most expatriates are not CBEs but self-initiated expatriates (SIEs). In this article we hypothesize that for their behavioral and demographic features, CBEs and SIEs differ substantially in their levels of on-the job and off-the-job embeddedness. Moreover, these difference lay ground for moderating effects resulting in different explanations for the repatriation intention of CBEs and SIEs. Drawing on a unique sample of 345 expatriates from 40 different countries we show that while SIEs experience a higher degree of off-the-job embeddedness than CBEs, the two expatriate types do not differ in their levels of on-the-job embeddedness. Also, off-the-job embeddedness is more important for explaining the repatriation intention of CBEs than of SIEs. Most importantly, whereas for SIEs low levels of on-the-job embeddedness increase their intention to repatriate, for CBEs high-not low-levels increase their intention to repatriate. Our findings carry important theoretical implications for research on expatriates and provide managerial implications related to the choice, hiring criteria, and support programs for expatriates.

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