Self-initiated expatriation: implications for HRM

Liza Howe-Walsh, B. Schyns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The decision of an employee to move from their home country in order to work in another country/culture will create a myriad of issues for the employees to face. Every year, many employees take the decision to migrate. So far the literature has focused on the motivation to expatriate, on the one hand, or Human Resource Management (HRM) for international assignments within an organization, on the other hand. Little regard is paid to the opportunities HRM can play in supporting the adjustment of self-initiated expatriates to the new organization and culture. The paper derives assumptions based on Black, Mendenhall and Oddou's (1991) model of adjustment to help self-initiated expatriates to adjust and reach their performance potential more quickly. We argue that organizations should consider whether their current practices enhance or hinder the successful employment of self-initiated expatriates. Besides work-related HRM practices, HRM for self-initiated expatriates should consider expanding support into non-work areas, such as supporting partner relocation or helping to find accommodation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-273
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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