Warm welcome or rude awakening? Repatriation experiences of Indian and Dutch international assignees and intention to leave the organisation
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Purpose – The purpose of this exploratory, empirical study is to gain insight into repatriation experiences and repatriate turnover intention of employees from India and The Netherlands who either were or had been on international assignments in the respective countries. Design/methodology/approach – Interviews were conducted with 25 Dutch and 30 Indian international assignees (IAs) and repatriates in both India and The Netherlands. Thematic analysis resulted in four themes: met and unmet expectations of career advancement opportunities; knowledge transfer and labour marketability; economic growth versus economic recession and alternative employment opportunities; and boundaryless careers: adventure and entrepreneurship. Findings – Repatriate expectations about the use of knowledge, skills and abilities gained in the host country moderate the relationship between the macro-economic situation of the home country and repatriate attrition/retention, such that met expectations of Indian respondents decreased their intention to leave the organisation, even in a conducive macro-economic context with ample alternative employment opportunities. Unmet expectations of Dutch respondents increased their intention to leave the organisation, even in an unfavourable macro-economic context with few alternative employment opportunities. Research limitations/implications – The sample of Indian and Dutch IAs and repatriates may limit generalisation of the findings to samples from other countries with distinct cultural contexts and macro-economic conditions. Practical implications – Global organisations that set realistic expectations about re-entry career opportunities for repatriates, facilitate knowledge transfer after repatriation, and adequately respond to boundaryless career ambitions of repatriates, can reduce repatriate turnover intention and attrition.
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