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The supportive expatriate spouse: An ethnographic study of spouse involvement in expatriate careers

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  • Lauring, Jakob
  • Selmer, Jan
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    Abstract

    Previous research on the influence of accompanying expatriate spouses has emphasized the negative impact on the business expatriates that could contribute to unsuccessful outcomes of the foreign assignments. But spouses' influences could also be positive. Applying ethnographic field-work methodology, this study investigated female spouses' involvement in the career of a sample of Danish business expatriates living in the same compound in Saudi Arabia. Results showed that the accompanying partners were active in trying to support and further their expatriate husbands' immediate careers and repatriation opportunities by using social strategies, such as creating alliances and establishing social networks with influential others through social contacts and dinner parties. The female trailing partners also tried as a group to influence company decisions regarding working schedules, pay, and holidays. These findings are consistent with recent theoretical developments focusing on positive outcomes of the work-family interface and social capital theory and are in line with empirical research on repatriation and post-assignment careers.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Business Review.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 59-69

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:19:y:2010:i:1:p:59-69

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    Related research

    Keywords: Ethnographic study Expatriate careers Supportive expatriate spouses;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Selmer, Jan & Lauring, Jakob, 2013. "Dispositional affectivity and work outcomes of expatriates," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 568-577.
    2. Ravasi, Claudio & Salamin, Xavier & Davoine, Eric, 2013. "The challenge of dual career expatriate management in a specific host national environment: An exploratory study of expatriate and spouse adjustment in Switzerland based MNCs," FSES Working Papers 447, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.

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