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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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lauring, Jakob & Selmer, Jan, 2010. "The supportive expatriate spouse: An ethnographic study of spouse involvement in expatriate careers," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 59-69, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:19:y:2010:i:1:p:59-69
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anika Breitenmoser & Benjamin Bader, 2016. "Repatriation outcomes affecting corporate ROI: a critical review and future agenda," Management Review Quarterly, Springer;Vienna University of Economics and Business, vol. 66(3), pages 195-234, June.
    2. Katharina Silberbauer, 2015. "Benefits of Dual-Career Support for Expatriate Spouses," International Journal of Business and Management, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences, vol. 3(2), pages 66-84, May.
    3. G. Delina & R. Prabhakara Raya, 2016. "Dilemma of work-life balance in dual-career couples - a study from the Indian perspective," International Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 12(1), pages 1-27.
    4. repec:asi:ijopss:2017:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Bader, Benjamin & Berg, Nicola & Holtbrügge, Dirk, 2015. "Expatriate performance in terrorism-endangered countries: The role of family and organizational support," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 849-860.
    6. 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.
    7. Selmer, Jan & Lauring, Jakob, 2013. "Dispositional affectivity and work outcomes of expatriates," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 568-577.
    8. repec:eee:iburev:v:26:y:2017:i:5:p:991-1008 is not listed on IDEAS

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