Advertisement

Management Review Quarterly

, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 77–102 | Cite as

The family in the center of international assignments: a systematic review and future research agenda

  • Julia Goede
  • Nicola Berg
State-of-the-Art

Abstract

Over the past 30 years, the number of studies investigating the family interface of international assignments has risen substantially. While alternative forms of international assignments have been gaining importance, this article focuses specifically on the family interface of traditional organization assigned expatriation as the most prominent and most researched form of global work. Thus far, research has investigated a broad array of topics ranging from the family’s willingness to relocate over family adjustment to work-family balance and utilized a large variety of theoretical foundations. Given this variety in the literature, the field is fragmented and lacks a consistent theoretical argumentation. As a first step to provide some organization, we synthesize the family expatriation literature by developing a comprehensive multi-level framework of the determinants and dimensions of family outcomes. To achieve this objective, we critically assess publications between 1985 and 2017 in peer-viewed international journals, examine theoretical foundations and review the extant literature based on our framework. With this we uncover similarities and inconsistencies in the field, which allows us to deduce an agenda for future research and offer recommendations for practice.

Keywords

Family Expatriation International assignments Literature review Multi-level framework 

JEL Classification

M59 

Supplementary material

11301_2017_134_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (25 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 24 KB)

References

  1. Altman Y, Shortland S (2008) Women and international assignments: taking stock—a 25-year review. Hum Resour Manag 47(2):199–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashforth BE, Kreiner GE, Fugate M (2000) All in a day’s work: boundaries and micro role transitions. Acad Manag 25(3):472–491Google Scholar
  3. Bader B, Berg N, Holtbrügge D (2015) Expatriate performance in terrorism-endangered countries: the role of family and organizational support. Int Bus Rev 24(5):849–860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beigi M, Shirmohammadi M (2017) Qualitative research on work-family in the management field: a review. Appl Psychol 1–52Google Scholar
  5. Black JS, Gregersen HB (1991a) The other half of the picture: antecedents of spouse cross-cultural adjustment. J Int Bus Stud 22(3):461–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Black JS, Gregersen HB (1991b) When Yankee comes home: factors related to expatriate and spouse repatriation adjustment. J Int Bus Stud 22(4):671–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Black JS, Stephens GK (1989) The influence of the spouse on American expatriate adjustment and intent to stay in the Pacific Rim overseas assignment. J Manag 15(4):529–544Google Scholar
  8. Breitenmoser A, Bader B (2016) Repatriation outcomes affecting corporate ROI: a critical review and future agenda. Manag Rev Q 66(3):195–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brett JM, Stroh LK (1995) Willingness to relocate internationally. Hum Resour Manag 34(3):405–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brookfield Global Relocation Services (2015) Mindful mobility—global mobility trends survey report 2015(20):1–88Google Scholar
  11. Brookfield Global Relocation Services (2016) Breakthrough to the future of global talent mobility 2016(21):1–72Google Scholar
  12. Brown RJ (2008) Dominant stressors on expatriate couples during international assignments. Int J Hum Resour Manag 19(6):1018–1034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Caligiuri PM, Hyland MM, Joshi A, Bross AS (1998) Testing a theoretical model for examining the relationship between family adjustment and expatriates’ work adjustment. J Appl Psychol 83(4):598–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chen Z, Powell GN, Greenhaus JH (2009) Work-to-family conflict, positive spillover, and boundary management: a person–environment fit approach. J Vocat Behav 74(1):82–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cho T, Hutchings K, Marchant T (2013) Key factors influencing Korean expatriates’ and spouses’ perceptions of expatriation and repatriation. Int J Hum Resour Manag 24(5):1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cole ND (2011) Managing global talent: solving the spousal adjustment problem. Int J Hum Resour Manag 22(7):1504–1530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cole ND, Nesbeth K (2014) Why do international assignments fail? The expatriate families speak. Int Stud Manag Organ 44(3):1–17Google Scholar
  18. Crossan MM, Apaydin M (2010) A multi-dimensional framework of organizational innovation: a systematic review of the literature. J Manag Stud 47(6):1154–1191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. De Cieri H, Dowling PJ, Taylor KF (1991) The psychological impact of expatriate relocation on partners. Int J Hum Resour Manag 2(3):377–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dupuis M-J, Haines VY, Saba T (2008) Gender, family ties, and international mobility: cultural distance matters. Int J Hum Resour Manag 19(2):274–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Duxbury LE, Higgins CA (1991) Gender differences in work-family conflict. J Appl Psychol 76(1):60–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fischlmayr IC, Kollinger I (2010) Work-life balance—a neglected issue among Austrian female expatriates. Int J Hum Resour Manag 21(4):455–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fischlmayr IC, Puchmüller KM (2016) Married, mom and manager—How can this be combined with an international career? Int J Hum Resour Manag 27(7):744–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Forster N (1992) International managers and mobile families: the professional and personal dynamics of trans-national career pathing and job mobility in the 1990s. Int J Hum Resour Manag 3(3):605–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Forster N (1997) “The persistent myth of high expatriate failure rates”: a reappraisal. Int J Hum Resour Manag 8(4):414–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fukuda KJ, Chu P (1994) Wrestling with expatriate family problems: Japanese experience in East Asia. Int Stud Manag Organ 24(3):36–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. German Academic Association for Business Research (2015) VHB-JOURQUAL 3. http://vhbonline.org/vhb4you/jourqual/vhb-jourqual-3/gesamtliste/. Accessed 03 July 2017
  28. Greenhaus JH, Powell GN (2006) When work and families are allies: a theory of work-family enrichment. Acad Manag Rev 31(1):72–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gregersen HB, Stroh LK (1997) Coming home to the arctic cold: antecedents to the finnish expatriate and spouse repatriation adjustment. Pers Psychol 50(3):635–654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gupta R, Banerjee P, Gaur J (2012) Exploring the role of the spouse in expatriate failure: a grounded theory-based investigation of expatriate’ spouse adjustment issues from India. Int J Hum Resour Manag 23(17):3559–3577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Handler CA, Lane IM (1997) Career planning and expatriate couples. Hum Resour Manag J 7(3):67–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Harvey MG (1985) The executive family: an overlooked variable in international assignments. J World Bus 20(1):84–92Google Scholar
  33. Harvey MG (1995) The impact of dual career families on international relocations. Hum Resour Manag Rev 5(3):223–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Harvey MG (1997) Dual-career expatriates: expectations, adjustment and satisfaction with international relocation. J Int Bus Stud 28(3):627–658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Harvey MG (1998) Dual-career couples during international relocation: the trailing spouse. Int J Hum Resour Manag 9(2):309–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Harvey MG, Buckley RM (1998) The process for developing an international program for dual-career couples. Hum Resour Manag Rev 8(1):99–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Harvey MG, Wiese D (1998) The dual-career couple: female expatriates and male trailing spouses. Thunderbird Int Bus Rev 40(4):359–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Harvey MG, Buckley RM, Novicevic MM, Wiese D (1999) Mentoring dual-career expatriates: a sense-making and sense-giving social support process. Int J Hum Resour Manag 10(5):808–827CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Harvey MG, Novicevic MM, Breland JW (2009) Global dual-career exploration and the role of hope and curiosity during the process. J Manag Psychol 24(2):178–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Harvey MG, Napier NK, Moeller M, Williams LA (2010) Mentoring global dual-career couples: a social learning perspective. J Appl Psychol 40(1):212–240Google Scholar
  41. Haslberger A, Brewster C (2008) The expatriate family: an international perspective. J Manag Psychol 23(3):324–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hays RD (1971) Ascribed Behavioral Determinants of Success-Failure among U.S. expatriate managers. J Int Bus Stud 2:40–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Henisz WJ, Mansfield ED, von Glinow MA (2010) Conflict, security, and political risk: international business in challenging times. J Int Bus Stud 41(5):759–764CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Jaskiewicz P, Combs JG, Shanine KK, Kacmar KM (2017) Introducing the family: a review of family science with implications for management research. Acad Manag Ann 11(1):309–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Johns G (2017) Reflections on the 2016 decade award: incorporating context in organizational research. Acad Manag Rev 42(4):577–595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Känsälä M, Mäkelä L, Suutari V (2015) Career coordination strategies among dual career expatriate couples. Int J Hum Resour Manag 26(17):2187–2210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Konopaske R, Robie C, Ivancevich JM (2005) A preliminary model of spouse influence on managerial global assignment willingness. Int J Hum Resour Manag 16(3):405–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kupka B, Cathro V (2007) Desperate housewives—social and professional isolation of German expatriated spouses. Int J Hum Resour Manag 18(6):951–968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kupka B, Everett AM, Cathro V (2008) Home alone and often unprepared—intercultural communication training for expatriated partners in German MNCs. Int J Hum Resour Manag 19(10):1765–1791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lämsä A-M, Heikkinen S, Smith M, Tornikoski C (2017) The expatriate’s family as a stakeholder of the firm: a responsibility viewpoint. Int J Hum Resour Manag 28(20):2916–2935Google Scholar
  51. Lauring J, Selmer J (2010) The supportive expatriate spouse: an ethnographic study of spouse involvement in expatriate careers. Int Bus Rev 19(1):59–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lazarova M, Westman M, Shaffer MA (2010) Eludidating the positive side of the work-family interface on international assignments: a model of expatriate work and family performance. Acad Manag Rev 35(1):93–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Linehan M, Walsh JS (2000) Work-family conflict and the senior female international manager. Br J Manag 11(Special Issue):49–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Mäkelä L, Suutari V (2011) Coping with work-family conflicts in the global career context. Thunderbird Int Bus Rev 53(3):365–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mäkelä L, Känsälä M, Suutari V (2011) The roles of expatriates’ spouses among dual career couples. Cross Cult Manag Int J 18(2):185–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Malek MA, Budhwar P, Reiche BS (2015) Sources of support and expatriation: a multiple stakeholder perspective of expatriate adjustment and performance in Malaysia. Int J Hum Resour Manag 26(2):258–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mayring P (2014) Qualitative content analysis: theoretical foundation, basic procedures and software solution. Qual Data Anal 170–183Google Scholar
  58. McPhail R, McNulty Y, Hutchings K (2016) Lesbian and gay expatriation: opportunities, barriers and challenges for global mobility. Int J Hum Resour Manag 27(3):382–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Mohr AT, Klein S (2004) Exploring the adjustment of American expatriate spouses in Germany. Int J Hum Resour Manag 15(7):1189–1206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Punnett BJ (1997) Towards effective management of expatriate spouses. J World Bus 32(3):243–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Punnett BJ, Crocker O, Stevens MA (1992) The challenge for women expatriates and spouses: some empirical evidence. Int J Hum Resour Manag 3(3):585–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Ritzberger K (2008) A ranking of journals in economics and related fields. Ger Econ Rev 9(4):402–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Schrader U, Hennig-Thurau T (2009) VHB-Jourqual 2: method, results, and implications of the German academix association for business research’s journal ranking. J Rank Bus Res 2(2):180–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Selmer J, Leung ASM (2003) Provision and adequacy of corporate support to male expatriate spouses—an exploratory study. Pers Rev 32(1–2):9–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Shaffer MA, Harrison DA (2001) Forgotten partners of international assignments: development and test of a model of spouse adjustment. J Appl Psychol 86(2):238–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Shaffer MA, Harrison DA, Gilley KM, Luk DM (2001) Struggling for balance amid turbulence on international assignments: work-family conflict, support and commitment. J Manag 27(1):99–121Google Scholar
  67. Shaffer MA, Kraimer ML, Chen Y-P, Bolino MC (2012) Choices, challenges and career consequences of global work experiences: a review and future agenda. J Manag 38(4):1282–1327Google Scholar
  68. Shaffer MA, Reiche S, Dimitrova M, Lazarova M, Chen S, Westman M, Wurtz O (2015) Work- and family-role adjustment of different types of global professionals: scale development and validation. J Int Bus Stud 47:113–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Shih H, Chiang Y, Hsu C (2010) High involvement work system, work—family conflict, and expatriate performance—examining Taiwanese expatriates in China. Int J Hum Resour Manag 21(11):2013–2030CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Stephens GK, Black S (1991) The impact of spouses’s career-orientation on managers during international assignments. J Manag Stud 28(4):417–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Takeuchi R (2010) A critical review of expatriate adjustment research through a multiple stakeholder view: progress, emerging trends, and prospects. J Manag 36(4):1040–1064Google Scholar
  72. Takeuchi R, Yun S, Tesluk PE (2002) An examination of crossover and spillover effects of spousal and expatriate cross-cultural adjustment on expatriate outcomes. J Appl Psychol 87(4):655–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Takeuchi R, Lepak DP, Marinova SV, Yun S (2007) Nonlinear influences of stressors on general adjustment: the case of Japanese expatriates and their spouses. J Int Bus Stud 38(6):928–943CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Tharenou P (2008) Disruptive decisions to leave home: gender and family differences in expatriation choices. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 105(2):183–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Tranfield D, Denyer D, Smart P (2003) Towards a methodology for developing evidence-informed management knowledge by means of systematic review. Br Acad Manag 14:207–222Google Scholar
  76. Tung RL (1986) Corporate executives and their families in China: the need for cross-cultural understanding in business. J World Bus 21(1):21–25Google Scholar
  77. van der Velde MEG, Bossink CJH, Jansen PGW (2005) Gender differences in the determinants of the willingness to accept an international assignment. J Vocat Behav 66(1):81–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. van der Velde MEG, Jansen PGW, Bal PM, van Erp KJPM (2017) Dual-earner couples’ willingness to relocate abroad: the reciprocal influence of both partners’ career role salience and partner role salience. Eur J Work Organ Psychol 26(2):1–13Google Scholar
  79. van der Zee KI, Ali AJ, Salome E (2005) Role interference and subjective well-being among expatriate families. Eur J Work Organ Psychol 14(3):239–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. van Erp KJPM, van der Zee KI, Giebels E, van Duijn M (2013) Lean on me: the importance of one’s own and partner’s intercultural personality for expatriate’s and expatriate spouse’s successful adjustment abroad. Eur J Work Organ Psychol 23(April 2014):706–728Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Strategic ManagementUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations