International Assignments from a Stakeholder Perspective
The continuously high need for internationally mobile talent as well as the upsurge of different types of international assignments, have led to an incomparable movement of assignees around the globe. While in the literature as well as in practice, the application of an assignee-centric focus long prevailed, recently scholars have stressed the necessity to investigate international assignments from a stakeholder perspective. In order to contribute to closing this gap in the literature, our research investigates formal as well as informal network participants of international assignees such as the family, host country nationals or colleagues. Our research comprises the following main topics:
The family in the center of international assignments
International assignments induce change to the two most important domains of someone’s life: the work and the family domain. Given the predominance of the expatriate-centric focus of the literature, the importance of the family throughout international assignments has received muss less attention. Yet, recently, the family interface entered the interest of research and practitioners alike, as scholars uncovered the crucial role of the family for expatriate success. Contributing to the advancement of the field, we conduct a systematic literature review of the family expatriation literature. By investigating the determinants and dimensions of family outcomes, we propose a multilevel framework and offer directions for future research. The results of this research project have been presented at several international conferences and are available online.
Methodological issues in family expatriation research
While all areas of international human resource management research are affected by methodological issues, the diversity of the multi-stakeholder nature of the family expatriation topic adds complexity to the range of potential problems. Methodological issues may undermine the reliability and validity of findings and lead to inaccurate implications and recommendations given to human resource practitioners. Accordingly, we investigate the methodological shortcomings of the family expatriation literature to promote rigorous research in the future. Our findings suggest that methodological issues in the field include the lack of empirical data from expatriate spouses and children as well as an untimely tendency to generalize to the term family. Accordingly, we recommend an increased investigation of alternative family types such as single parents, dual career couples or gay and lesbian couples.
The impact of online social networks on international assignments
Relocating is perceived as a challenge by expatriates as they have to adjust to a new environment while leaving behind their familiar work as well as private networks. In accordance, research has stressed the relevance of social networks in the host country to form support ties and obtain information about the host country and with this facilitate adjustment. However, today’s social networking reality has outpaced the academic investigation of social networks. More specifically, online social networking sites have fundamentally changed how networks are characterized, build and managed. Given the omnipresence of social media, for expatriates the benefits of online social networks may include greater access to support, mentoring and information resources as well as the possibility to impact HR and decision makers. In our research project, we empirically investigate the impact of online social networks on expatriate adjustment.