Voices of experience



Title Voices of experience: a comparison of alternatives against the traditional expatriate assignments
Author(s) J. Scott Wilson
Date 2011
Institution University of Prince Edward Island
Supervisor(s) Wendy Carroll
Degree earned Master of Business Administration
Place published Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Abstract The bulk of research on expatriate assignments has been focused on traditional expatriate assignments which typically involves a timeframe of over a year or more. Research has shown that the traditional expatriate assignments are plagued by high costs, high failure rates, and low rates of retention. Increasingly organizations are exploring other alternatives to conduct international assignments through the use of what I call the alternative expatriate assignment. These alternative assignments hold the promise of addressing some of the shortfalls of the more traditional assignments. In this study, I apply the Dickmann & Harris (2005) traditional expatriate career capital framework to two particularly popular forms of the alternative expatriate assignment, namely the short-term expatriate assignment and the self-initiated expatriate assignment. The model looks at the individual’s perspective on three important career capital categories in the model, knowing whom, knowing why, and knowing how. While only exploratory in design and providing only cursory level of analysis, there appears to be support for the use of the Dickmann & Harris (2005) framework to explore the career capital reasons why alternative expatriate’s choose to accept short-term and self-initiated international assignments. The study highlights some key similarities and differences between the traditional and the alternative expatriate assignments and has the potential to inform organizations about the alternative expatriate values from a career capital perspective.
Use/Reproduction In presenting this signature project report in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Prince Edward Island, the author has agreed that the Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island, may make this signature project freely available for inspection and gives permission to add an electronic version of the signature project to the Digital Repository at the University of Prince Edward Island. Moreover the author further agrees that permission for extensive copying of this signature project report for scholarly purposes may be granted by the professor or professors who supervised the author’s project work, or, in their absence, by the Dean of the School of Business. It is understood that any copying or publication or use of this signature project report or parts thereof for financial gain shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission. It is also understood that due recognition shall be given to the author and to the University of Prince Edward Island in any scholarly use which may be made of any material in the author’s report.

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