Previous studies indicate that repatriate turnover is a major problem facing organizations that do business internationally. Indeed, according to the 2008 Global Relocation Trends Report, 27 percent of repatriates leave their companies within the first year of returning from an expatriate assignment. Sending employees overseas is expensive, and turnover means that multinational corporations (MNCs) lose human resources in which they have invested heavily; moreover, when former expatriates leave their companies, it also contributes to a shortage of global leaders within the MNC. For this reason, researchers and practitioners have sought to better understand the causes of repatriate turnover and how it can be minimized. However, according to the same report referenced above, among the expatriates who left the organization, 25 percent of them left their companies during an overseas assignment. Surprisingly, though, there have been few attempts to understand why so many expatriates quit in the midst of their assignments. In other words, while there has been a great deal of research on post-assignment turnover among international assignees, very little is known about the antecedents of intra-assignment turnover. The purpose of this dissertation, then, was to develop and empirically test a model describing the determinants of intra-assignment turnover intentions among expatriates. Drawing upon the literature on proactive work behavior, the model proposes that individuals' characteristics, as well as their proactive orientation and behaviors, influence the degree to which expatriates adjust to the host country environment. Drawing upon social capital theory, it is argued that expatriates who adjust better to the country specific conditions and interact well with host country nationals, will have the desire and the ability to work in the host country and will be more aware of job opportunities there which, in turn, will be associated with greater intentions to work for companies located in the host country. Finally, drawing upon the turnover literature, the model suggests that expatriate characteristics such as cultural intelligence, commitment, and careerist orientation, and proactive orientation, moderate the relationship between the desire to work in the host country and the expatriates' intention to take a job with another company in that country. Using an on-line survey, I collected data from 221 expatriates from 49 countries in order to test my hypotheses using structural equation modeling. As hypothesized, expatriate adjustment was greater among international assignees who were culturally intelligent and engaged in proactive behaviors; however, adjustment was lower among expatriates who had strong careerist orientations. Commitment and proactive personality were unrelated to adjustment. As predicted, adjustment was positively related to the desire to work in the host country and perceived job opportunities in the local market. Although perceived job opportunities in the host country were not related to intra-assignment turnover intentions, the desire to work in the host country was predictive of such intent. Finally, the analyses indicated that organizational commitment and careerist attitudes towards work also had a direct effect on expatriates' intention to work for other companies in the host country. With one exception, the hypothesized moderating effects were not supported. The findings suggest that careerism moderates the relationship between desire to work and intention to work in the host country such that the relationship is stronger among expatriates with careerist attitudes towards work. The implications of these...
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