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

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.

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Correspondence to Julia Goede.

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Goede, J., Berg, N. The family in the center of international assignments: a systematic review and future research agenda. Manag Rev Q 68, 77–102 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11301-017-0134-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11301-017-0134-2

Keywords

  • Family
  • Expatriation
  • International assignments
  • Literature review
  • Multi-level framework

JEL Classification

  • M59