The role of selection and socialization processes in career mobility: explaining expatriation and entrepreneurial intentions

  • Martin Mabunda BalukuEmail author
  • Steffen Erik Schummer
  • Dorothee Löser
  • Kathleen Otto


The “traditional career,” staying for the entirety of one’s work life in a single occupation, is disappearing; the current career environment demands increasing flexibility and mobility. Research indicates that there are individual differences between mobile and non-mobile people. On the basis of selection (career orientation and competition orientation) and socialization (course and length of study) processes, this study examines the intentions of university students to expatriate or become self-employed as alternatives to traditional employment. The findings reveal that entrepreneurial intentions are predominantly a function of selection processes, while expatriation intentions are a function of both selection and socialization processes.


Career mobility Entrepreneurial intentions Expatriation 


Le rôle des processus de sélection et de socialisation dans la mobilité de carrière : expliquer l’expatriation et les intentions entrepreneuriales La « carrière traditionnelle » , caractérisée par une vie professionnelle dans une seule et même profession, est en voie de disparition; le monde du travail actuel exige une flexibilité et une mobilité croissantes. Les recherches indiquent qu’il existe des différences individuelles entre les personnes « mobiles » et « non-mobiles » . Sur la base des processus de sélection (orientation de carrière et de compétition) et de socialisation (filière et durée des études), cette étude examine les intentions des étudiants universitaires d’expatrier ou de devenir indépendants en tant qu’alternatives à l’emploi traditionnel. Les résultats révèlent que les intentions entrepreneuriales sont principalement fonction des processus de sélection, tandis que les intentions d’expatriation dépendent à la fois des processus de sélection et de socialisation.


Die Rolle von Selektions- und Sozialisationsprozessen bei der beruflichen Mobilität: Aufklärung von Expatriierungs- und unternehmerischen Absichten Die “traditionelle Karriere”, das heisst, das gesamte Berufsleben in einem einzigen Beruf zu verbringen, wird immer unbedeutender; das aktuelle Karriereumfeld erfordert zunehmend Flexibilität und Mobilität. Die Forschung zeigt, dass es individuelle Unterschiede zwischen mobilen und nicht-mobilen Menschen gibt. Auf der Grundlage von Selektions- (Karriere- und Wettbewerbsorientierung) und Sozialisationsprozessen (Studiengang und Studiendauer) untersucht diese Studie die Absichten von Hochschulstudentinnen und -studenten, ins Ausland zu gehen oder sich selbstständig zu machen, als Alternativen zur traditionellen Beschäftigung. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass unternehmerische Absichten überwiegend eine Funktion von Selektionsprozessen sind, während Expatriierungsabsichten eine Funktion von gleichermassen Selektions- und Sozialisationsprozessen sind.


El papel de los procesos de selección y socialización en la movilidad profesional: Explicando la Expatriación y las Intenciones Empresariales La “carrera profesional tradicional”, permanecer durante toda la vida laboral en una sola ocupación, está desapareciendo; el entorno profesional actual exige una mayor flexibilidad y movilidad. Las investigaciones indican que existen diferencias individuales entre las personas móviles y no móviles. Sobre la base de los procesos de selección (orientación profesional y orientación a la competencia) y de socialización (curso y duración de los estudios), este estudio examina las intenciones de los estudiantes universitarios de expatriarse o de trabajar por cuenta propia como alternativas al empleo tradicional. Los resultados revelan que las intenciones empresariales son predominantemente una función de los procesos de selección, mientras que las intenciones de expatriación son una función tanto de los procesos de selección como de socialización.


  1. Adamonienė, R., & Astromskienė, A. (2015). Peculiarities of entrepreneurial socialization expression. Procedia—Social and Behavioral Sciences, 213, 890–895. Scholar
  2. Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179–211. Scholar
  3. Al Ariss, A., & Crowley-Henry, M. (2013). Self-initiated expatriation and migration in the management literature. Career Development International, 18(1), 78–96. Scholar
  4. Amundson, N. (2005). The potential impact of global changes in work for career theory and practice. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 5(2), 91–99. Scholar
  5. Arnold, J. (2001). Careers and Career Management. In N. Anderson, D. S. Ones, H. K. Sinangil & V. Chockalingam (Eds.), Handbook of Industrial, Work & Organizational Psychology - Volume 2: Organizational Psychology (pp. 115–132). London: SAGE Publications Ltd. Scholar
  6. Arthur, M. B. (2014). The boundaryless career at 20: Where do we stand, and where can we go? Career Development International, 19, 627–640. Scholar
  7. Arthur, N., & Flynn, S. (2011). Career development influences of international students who pursue permanent immigration to Canada. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 11(3), 221–237. Scholar
  8. Baluku, M. M., Kikooma, J. F., & Kibanja, G. M. (2016). Does personality of owners of micro enterprises matter for the relationship between startup capital and entrepreneurial success? African Journal of Business Management, 10(1), 13–23. Scholar
  9. Baluku, M. M., Löser, D., Otto, K., & Schummer, S. E. (2018). Career mobility in young professionals: How a protean career personality and attitude shapes international mobility and entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Global Mobility. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Berglund, V., Johansson Sevä, I., & Strandh, M. (2015). Subjective well-being and job satisfaction among self-employed and regular employees: Does personality matter differently? Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 28(1), 1–19. Scholar
  11. Bolino, M. C. (2007). Expatriate assignments and intra-organizational career success: Implications for individuals and organizations. Journal of International Business Studies, 38(5), 819–835. Scholar
  12. Brett, J., & Reilly, A. (1988). On the road again: Predicting the job transfer decision. Journal of Applied Psychology, 73(4), 614–620. Scholar
  13. Cao, L., Hirschi, A., & Deller, J. (2012). Self-initiated expatriates and their career success. Journal of Management Development, 31(2), 159–172. Scholar
  14. Cope, J. (2003). Towards a dynamic learning perspective of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 29(4), 373–397. Scholar
  15. Dany, F., Louvel, S., & Valette, A. (2011). Academic careers: The limits of the “boundaryless approach” and the power of promotion scripts. Human Relations, 64(7), 971–996. Scholar
  16. Davey, L. M., Bobocel, D. R., Son Hing, L. S., & Zanna, M. P. (1999). Preference for the merit principle scale: An individual difference measure of distributive justice preferences. Social Justice Research, 12(3), 223–240. Scholar
  17. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49(3), 182–185. Scholar
  18. Dette, D., & Dalbert, C. (2005). Moving for their first job or staying put? Predictors of high school students’ attitudes toward geographic mobility. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35(8), 1719–1736. Scholar
  19. Donohue, R. (2006). Person-environment congruence in relation to career change and career persistence. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 68(3), 504–515. Scholar
  20. Falk, S., & Reimer, M. (2007). Verschiedene Fächer, verschiedene Übergänge: der Berufseinstieg und „frühe“Berufserfolg bayerischer Hochschulabsolventen. Beiträge Zur Hochschulforschung, 29(1), 34–70.Google Scholar
  21. Fayolle, A., & Gailly, B. (2015). The impact of entrepreneurship education on entrepreneurial attitudes and intention: Hysteresis and persistence. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(1), 75–93. Scholar
  22. Fayolle, A., Liñán, F., & Moriano, J. A. (2014). Beyond entrepreneurial intentions: Values and motivations in entrepreneurship. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 10(4), 679–689. Scholar
  23. Felker, J., & Gianecchini, M. (2015). Influence of pre-graduation international experiences on early career internationalization: The mediation effect of career capital. European Management Journal, 33(1), 60–70. Scholar
  24. Findlay, A. M., King, R., Smith, F. M., Geddes, A., & Skeldon, R. (2012). World class? An investigation of globalisation, difference and international student mobility. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 37(1), 118–131. Scholar
  25. Froese, F. J. (2012). Motivation and adjustment of self-initiated expatriates: The case of expatriate academics in South Korea. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(6), 1095–1112. Scholar
  26. Froese, F. J., Jommersbach, S., & Klautzsch, E. (2013). Cosmopolitan career choices: A cross-cultural study of job candidates’ expatriation willingness. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(17), 3247–3261. Scholar
  27. Glaser, D. (2004). Die Bereitschaft zu geographischer Mobilität und beruflicher Selbständigkeit: Eine empirische Untersuchung an Arbeitnehmern während der beruflichen Weiterbildung. [Geographic mobility and self-employment: An empirical study on employees during an adva]. Halle: Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg.Google Scholar
  28. Henderson, R., & Robertson, M. (2000). Who wants to be an entrepreneur? Young adult attitudes to entrepreneurship as a career. Career Development International, 5(6), 279–287. Scholar
  29. Hofstede, G., Noorderhaven, N. G., Thurik, A. R., Uhlaner, L. M., Wennekers, A. R. M., & Wildeman, R. E. (2004). Culture’s role in entrepreneurship: Self-employment out of dissatisfaction. In E. T. Brown & J. Ulijn (Eds.), Innovation, entrepreneurship and culture (pp. 162–203). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Scholar
  30. Holland, J. J. L. (1996). Exploring careers with a typology: What we have learned and some new directions. American Psychologist, 51(4), 397–406. Scholar
  31. Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments (Vol. 3). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.Google Scholar
  32. Howkins, E., & Ewens, A. (1999). How students experience professional socialisation. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 36(1), 41–49. Scholar
  33. Kautonen, T., Tornikoski, E. T., & Kibler, E. (2011). Entrepreneurial intentions in the third age: The impact of perceived age norms. Small Business Economics, 37(2), 219–234. Scholar
  34. Koch, A., Gabler, S., & Braun, M. (1994). Konzeption und Durchführung der “Allgemeinen Bevölkerungsumfrage der Sozialwissenschaften” (ALLBUS) 1994. DEU.Google Scholar
  35. Laker, D. R., & Powell, J. L. (2011). The differences between hard and soft skills and their relative impact on training transfer. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 22(1), 111–122. Scholar
  36. Lent, R., Brown, S., & Hackett, G. (2000). Contextual supports and barriers to career choice: A social cognitive analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47(1), 36–49. Scholar
  37. Lent, R. W., & Brown, S. D. (2013). Social cognitive model of career self-management: Toward a unifying view of adaptive career behavior across the life span. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60(4), 557–568. Scholar
  38. Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., & Hackett, G. (1994). Toward a unifying social cognitive theory of career and academic interest, choice, and performance. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 45(1), 79–122. Scholar
  39. Lent, R. W., Ezeofor, I., Morrison, M. A., Penn, L. T., & Ireland, G. W. (2016). Applying the social cognitive model of career self-management to career exploration and decision-making. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 93, 47–57. Scholar
  40. Lent, R. W., Miller, M. J., Smith, P. E., Watford, B. A., Lim, R. H., Hui, K., Morrison, M. A., Wilkins, G., & Williams, K. (2013). Social cognitive predictors of adjustment to engineering majors across gender and race/ethnicity. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(1), 22–30. Scholar
  41. Locks, A. M., Hurtado, S., Bowman, N. A., Oseguera, L., Allison, K. W., Gregg, P. L., & Jalomo, R. (2008). Extending notions of campus climate and diversity to students’ transition to college. The Review of Higher Education, 31(3), 257–285. Scholar
  42. Maier, G. W., Wastian, M., & Rosenstiel, L. V. (2009). Der differenzielle Einfluss der Berufsorientierungen auf Berufserfolg und Arbeitsmotivation. Zeitschrift Für Arbeits- Und Organisationspsychologie A&O, 53(3), 104–120. Scholar
  43. Massey, G., & Lynn, R. (1991). The secret of the miracle economy: Different national attitudes to competitiveness and money. Contemporary sociology (Vol. 21). London, UK: The Social Affairs Unit. Scholar
  44. Nabi, G., & Liñán, F. (2011). Graduate entrepreneurship in the developing world: Intentions, education and development. Education + Training, 53(5), 325–334. Scholar
  45. Ng, T. W. H., Eby, L. T., Sorensen, K. L., & Feldman, D. C. (2005). June). Predictors of objective and subjective career success: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology. Scholar
  46. Otto, K., & Dalbert, C. (2012). Individual differences in job-related relocation readiness: The impact of personality dispositions and social orientations. Career Development International, 17(2), 168–186. Scholar
  47. Otto, K., Roe, R., Sobiraj, S., Baluku, M. M., & Garrido Vásquez, M. E. (2017). The impact of career ambition on psychologists’ extrinsic and intrinsic career success: The less they want, the more they get. Career Development International, 22(1), 23–36. Scholar
  48. Parasuraman, S., Greenhaus, J. H., & Linnehan, F. (2000). Time, person–career fit, and the boundaryless career. In C. L. Cooper & D. M. Rousseau (Eds.), Trends in organizational behavior, time in organizational behavior (Vol. 7, pp. 63–78). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  49. Piperopoulos, P., & Dimov, D. (2015). Burst bubbles or build steam? Entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, and entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(4), 970–985. Scholar
  50. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J.-Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903. Scholar
  51. Porter, S. R., & Umbach, P. D. (2006). College major choice: An analysis of person-environment fit. Research in Higher Education, 47(4), 429–449. Scholar
  52. Preacher, K. J., Curran, P. J., & Bauer, D. J. (2006). Computational tools for probing interactions in multiple linear regression, multilevel modeling, and latent curve analysis. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 31(4), 437–448. Scholar
  53. Rodrigues, R., Guest, D., & Budjanovcanin, A. (2013). From anchors to orientations: Towards a contemporary theory of career preferences. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(2), 142–152. Scholar
  54. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78. Scholar
  55. Ryan, J., Silvanto, S., & Brown, H. T. (2013). The impact of experience-based MBA educational programs on international career mobility. Journal of Global Mobility, 1(1), 28–45. Scholar
  56. Ryan, J., Silvanto, S., & Ozkaya, H. E. (2015). A contextual, theoretical and empirical analysis of the uses of university degrees as symbolic capital in self-initiated expatriation. European J. of International Management, 9(5), 614. Scholar
  57. Ryckman, R. M., Hammer, M., Kaczor, L. M., & Gold, J. A. (1996). Construction of a personal development competitive attitude scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 66(2), 374–385. Scholar
  58. Schein, E. H. (1996). Career anchors revisited: Implications for career development in the 21st century. Academy of Management Perspectives, 10(4), 80–88. Scholar
  59. Schwarz, E. J., Wdowiak, M. A., Almer-Jarz, D. A., & Breitenecker, R. J. (2009). The effects of attitudes and perceived environment conditions on students’ entrepreneurial intent: An Austrian perspective. Education + Training, 51(4), 272–291. Scholar
  60. Spokane, A. R., Meir, E. I., & Catalano, M. (2000). Person-environment congruence and Holland’s theory: A review and reconsideration. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 57(2), 137–187. Scholar
  61. Starr, J. A., & Fondas, N. (1992). A model of entrepreneurial socialization and organization formation. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 17, 67–77. Scholar
  62. Stumpf, S. A. (2014). A longitudinal study of career success, embeddedness, and mobility of early career professionals. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 85(2), 180–190. Scholar
  63. Teichler, U., & Jahr, V. (2001). Mobility during the course of study and after graduation. European Journal of Education, 36(4), 443–458. Scholar
  64. Thungjaroenkul, P., Cummings, G. G., & Tate, K. (2016). Testing the social cognitive career theory in Thai nurses’ interest to become nurse educators: A structural equation modeling analysis. Nurse Education Today, 44, 151–156. Scholar
  65. Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2000). Person-organization fit: The match between newcomers’ and recruiters’ preferences for organizational cultures. Personnel Psychology, 53(1), 113–149. Scholar
  66. Verbruggen, M. (2012). Psychological mobility and career success in the “new” career climate. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81(2), 289–297. Scholar
  67. Wu, S., & Wu, L. (2008). The impact of higher education on entrepreneurial intentions of university students in China. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 15, 752–774. Scholar
  68. Yang, N. Y., Yaung, H., Noh, H., Jang, S. H., & Lee, B. (2017). The change of planned happenstance skills and its association with career-related variables during school-to-work transition. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 17(1), 19–38. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Mabunda Baluku
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Steffen Erik Schummer
    • 1
  • Dorothee Löser
    • 3
  • Kathleen Otto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Psychology, Business and Methods, Faculty of PsychologyPhilipps University of MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Educational, Social, and Organizational Psychology, School of PsychologyMakerere UniversityKampalaUganda
  3. 3.Deloitte Consulting GmbHBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations