Towards an understanding of social networks among organizational self-initiated expatriates: a qualitative case study of a professional services firm
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This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Human Resource Management on 06 /02 /2014, available online at <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09585192.2014.884614">http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09585192.2014.884614</a>
Drawing on a qualitative case study of 51 organizational self-initiated expatriates (OSIEs) in a professional services firm, this article investigates the role of networks during expatriation and, specifically, in the development of learning that is beneficial to both the individual expatriate and the global operations of the firm. First, we investigate the extent to which individual motivations to engage in OSIE impact on the development of networks. Second, we investigate individual’s experiences of network development. Third, we investigate individual perceptions of the benefits of networks for both organizations and individual actors. The paper will report that professionals initiating their own expatriation develop continually expanding and composite networks such that mobility and networks evolve in a seemingly symbiotic relationship. In doing so, it contributes to our understanding of the role of agency in network development and extends our understanding of organizational self-initiated expatriation as a relatively under-researched phenomenon.
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