Self-Initiated Expatriation: Individual, Organizational, and National Perspectives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Self-Initiated Expatriation

Individual, Organizational, and National Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Maike Andresen, Akram Al Ariss, Matthias Walther


252 pages | 37 B/W Illus.

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Globalization and the development of multinational organizations have led to an increase in the number of people spending part of their lives living and working in foreign countries. While the contemporary literature has focused on organizational expatriates sent overseas by their employers, self-initiated expatriation is becoming an important area of study in its own right. Studies on self-initiated expatriation explore the labor market positions of individuals who have relocated under their own initiative. However, no comprehensive book exists on the dynamics that underlie this type of mobility. This edited volume offers a holistic picture of self-initiated expatriation and the groups that pursue it, emphasizing many aspects for departure including career development and career capital. It is the first book on the market to explore the issues pertaining to self-initiated expatriation from a variety of perspectives with important theoretical and practical implications.

In an era of global war for talent, companies face difficulties in finding highly skilled employees. Self-initiated expatriates have the potential to fill this talent gap. National economies thus have an interest in creating favorable conditions to attract self-initiated expatriates and provoke their repatriation, and this book explores the conditions that achieve the return of employees with skills that are in demand outside of their home countries.


"If you are interested in understanding a major source of global talent--professionals who initiate their own expatriation to seek work abroad--you must read this book. The book addresses the different types of self-initiated expatriates, what drives them to expatriate, how they fare abroad, and establishes why self-initiated expatriates are organizational assets."Phyllis Tharenou, Flinders University, Australia

"The management of expatriation is of growing relevance and interest, but only scant attention has been paid to the issue of Self-Initiated Expatriation. This book, written by leaders in the field, takes a holistic perspective to provide both theoretical and practical contributions about Self-Initiated Expatriation. A ‘must-read’ for scholars and students interested in global people management." – Yehuda Baruch, Rouen Business School, France

"Working internationally has become a normal part of working life in many regions of the world. A profound body of knowledge exists about expatriation in its classic form. This book goes one step further and looks at self-initiated expatriation. Leading experts in the field present fresh insights, making the book a fascinating read for researchers, students of the field and practitioners alike. Highly recommendable!"Wolfgang Mayrhofer, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

"With the phenomenon of self-initiated expatriation on the rise, this book is a very welcome contribution to the field of expatriate management." – Anne-Wil Harzing, University of Melbourne, Australia

Table of Contents

Part I: Understanding the Concept 1. Introduction: Self-Initiated Expatriation: Individual, Organizational, and National Perspectives Maike Andresen, Akram Al Ariss, Matthias Walther 2. What Distinguishes Self-Initiated Expatriates from Assigned Expatriates and Migrants? A Literature-Based Definition and Differentiation of Terms Maike Andresen, Franziska Bergdolt, Jil Margenfeld 3. Research on Self-Initiated Expatriation: History and Future Directions Michael Dorsch, Vesa Suutari, Chris Brewster Part II: Understanding the Processes of Self-Initiated Expatriation 4. Motivation of Self-Initiated Expatriates Jean-Luc Cerdin 5. Self-Initiated Expatriation and Talent Flow Kaye Thorn, Kerr Inkson 6. Differences in Self-Initiated- and Organizational Expatriates’ Cross-Cultural Adjustment Vesa Peltokorpi, Fabian J. Froese 7. Career Concepts of Self-Initiated and Assigned Expatriates: A Theoretical Analysis Based on Coupling and Configuration Maike Andresen, Torsten Biemann 8. Self-Initiated Expatriation: Drivers, Employment Experience and Career Outcomes Noeleen Doherty, Michael Dickmann 9. Tax and Salary Issues in Self-Initiated Expatriation Thomas Egner 10. Self-Initiated Repatriation at the Interplay between Field, Capital, and Habitus: An Analysis Based on Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice Maike Andresen, Matthias Walther Part III: Understanding the Groups Undertaking Self-Initiated Foreign Experiences 11. Volunteering Abroad – A Career-Related Analysis of International Development Aid Workers Maike Andresen, Tanja Gustschin 12. Self-Initiated Expatriation in Academia: A Bounded and Boundaryless Career? Julia Richardson 13. Self-Initiated Career Characteristics of Danish Expatriated Engineers Torben Andersen, Erling Rasmussen 14. Ethnic Minority Migrants or Self-Initiated Expatriates? Questioning Assumptions in International Management Studies Akram Al Ariss List of Contributors Index

About the Editors

Maike Andresen is Professor for Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior and holds a chair of Human Resource Management at University of Bamberg/D. Maike has published articles in key academic journals and in edited volumes and authored five books in her fields of research, including expatriation, global career management, management development, work flexibilization, and diversity management.

Akram Al Ariss is professor of HRM at Toulouse Business School. He has published in British Journal of Management and Thunderbird International Business Review, among others. He visited LSE in 2012 and is member of the board of Journal of World Business, British Journal of Management, and Equality, Diversity, Inclusion.

Matthias Walther is research assistant at the Chair of Human Resource Management at the University of Bamberg and PhD-student at the University of Bamberg and the IAE Lyon. Matthias holds a Double Master’s Degree in International Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance.

Karen Wolff is former assistant at the Chair of Human Resource Management at the University of Bamberg. She holds a Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in International Business and the World Economy

As ever-increasing proportion of the world's business takes place across national borders, the need to understand the motive forces behind international business becomes greater. Transnationals are now, in many cases, as important as national governments in shaping trade flows and economic trends. As this series demonstrates, international business is not just the preserve of the largest companies, but impacts on all aspects of business and economic activity. This series is essential reading for policy makers as well as researchers in international business and applied international economics.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Human Resources & Personnel Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / International / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior