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Looking out or looking up: gender differences in expatriate turnover intentions

Lee, Hyun-Jung, Chua, Chei Hwee, Miska, Christof and Stahl, Günter K. (2017) Looking out or looking up: gender differences in expatriate turnover intentions. Cross Cultural and Strategic Management, 24 (2). pp. 288-309. ISSN 2059-5794

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Identification Number: 10.1108/CCSM-02-2016-0046

Abstract

Purpose - With the steady increase in the number of female expatriates and multinational corporations’ (MNCs’) pressing need for global female talent, understanding the factors that attract and retain female expatriates is urgent. Drawing from the literatures on gender differences in (domestic) labor turnover and gender differences in social networks, we investigate gender differences in expatriates' turnover intentions. Design/methodology/approach - We collected data via a questionnaire survey from an international sample of female (N=164) and male (N=1,509) expatriates who were on a company-sponsored international assignment at the time of completing the survey. Findings - Our findings show that female expatriates’ turnover intentions are mainly explained by satisfaction with company support. In contrast, male expatriates’ turnover intentions are explained by repatriation concerns and perceived gap between within- and outside-company career-advancement opportunities, in addition to satisfaction with company support. We did not find any gender differences in the levels of turnover intention per se. Practical implications - Since males dominate the expatriate cadre of most companies, existing expatriate retention strategies are likely to be geared toward males. Companies that value and want to retain their female talent, need to gain a better understanding of what matters to female expatriates in their decisions to stay or leave the company, and adjust their expatriation and repatriation management strategies accordingly. Originality/value – Our study is one of the first to empirically test the gender differences in expatriate turnover intentions. We propose two underlying mechanisms that explain gender differences in expatriate turnover intentions: (1) social integration, and (2) career advancement. Our findings point to an important new research frontier that focuses on gender differences in the underlying mechanisms of turnover intentions rather than in the level of turnover intentions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/loi/ccsm
Additional Information: © 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Sets: Departments > Management
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2016 14:38
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2019 02:42
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/68649

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