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The impact of international assignments on expatriates' identity and career aspirations: Reflections upon re-entry

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  • Kohonen, Eeva
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    Abstract

    Summary International assignments are challenging for expatriates but have seldom been investigated in the context of identity. The present study aims to capture the identity construction of Finnish expatriate managers during their international assignments, and the impact of this on career aspirations and re-entry experiences. The data were gathered in narrative interviews and reveals that expatriation is often accompanied by self-reflection and identity work. Three types of identity modification emerged from the narrative data, namely 'identity shifters', expatriates with 'balanced identities', and 'non-shifters.' Because the identity shifters had typically unpleasant repatriation experiences and narrated their career aspirations in terms of a new personal challenge, it is suggested that home companies could be more alert to the identity changes and career aspirations of repatriates.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Management.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 320-329

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:scaman:v:24:y:2008:i:4:p:320-329

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/872/description#description

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    Related research

    Keywords: International assignments Identity Career aspirations Subjective career Narratives;

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    Cited by:
    1. Fee, Anthony & Gray, Sidney J., 2013. "Transformational learning experiences of international development volunteers in the Asia-Pacific: The case of a multinational NGO," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 196-208.

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