Coping with a Boundaryless Career – A Focus on Finnish Self-Initiated Expatriates in Poland

  • Malla MattilaEmail author
  • Hanna Salminen
  • Anna Astahova
Part of the International Perspectives on Migration book series (IPMI, volume 16)


This study examines Finnish self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) in Poland. The theoretical framework is based on a boundaryless career perspective whereby one’s career has evolved beyond organisational boundaries and being individually managed. The issue of crossing objective boundaries (i.e., physical mobility) is at the forefront of this perspective, while the issues of psychological mobility and the negative aspects of a boundaryless career model remain in the background. The study contributes to expatriation literature by adopting a narrative approach and describing and analysing the physical and psychological boundaries experienced by Finnish SIEs from the boundaryless career perspective. Generated data were used to construct three narratives that differ with regard to the degree of the boundaryless career ‘mindset’ demonstrated within them. The study shows that the economic downturn in Finland has ‘pushed’ Finnish SIEs to search for jobs overseas. These SIEs see working in Poland, where the pay level is lower than in Finland, as a better option than being unemployed in Finland. Working overseas also enables the SIEs to utilise and develop their own expertise. The SIEs perceive themselves to be in charge of their own career and hence free to make their own career-related decisions. However, this freedom has its downsides. Those downsides particularly relate to a sense of insecurity about their future and feelings of being unable to adjust fully to Polish society.


Self-initiated expatriate Coping Boundaryless career Poland Global mobility Narrative research 



We want to express our gratitude to the individuals who shared their thoughts and experiences with us concerning living and working in Poland. In terms of financial support, the first author wishes to acknowledge the Foundation for Economic Education.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ManagementUniversity of TampereTampereFinland

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