Exploring Repatriation Success from an Organizational Perspective

Project Details


In today’s international business environment, the ability to take advantage of globalopportunities with the use of expatriate assignments has become increasinglyimportant for organizations interested in enhancing their global presence andexpansion. However, when compared to the amount of attention devoted to theselection and preparation of expatriates before the assignments, and the adjustmentand retention of expatriates during the assignments, the amount of attention paid torepatriate management is certainly smaller, both in academic journals and in practice.Indeed, a recent survey by Brookfield Global Relocation Services indicates that only18% of the 163 multinational corporations that participated in the survey reportedhaving a formal repatriation program that focus on career planning and retention ofrepatriates in their organizations. As a result, turnover rates among repatriates werehigh.The present project first provides an overview of the issues that are critical to thesuccess of repatriation. They are the causes of repatriation problems, consequences ofrepatriate turnover, repatriation support practices, employee willingness forexpatriation, and developmental expatriate assignments. Then, I adapted both Yan,Zhu, and Hall’s (2002) psychological contract model and signaling theory (Spence,1973) to examine repatriation success factors from an organizational perspective.More specifically, I seek to jointly investigate the mediating role of the organization’srepatriate turnover rates in linking the use of developmental assignments andemployee willingness for expatriation and the moderating role of repatriation supportpractices in influencing the mediation.The findings of the present project aim to contribute to the repatriation literatureby: (1) moving beyond the primary focus of repatriate turnover in determiningrepatriation success and investigate the effect of repatriate turnover on employeewillingness for expatriation, (2) examining the use of developmental assignments andmost importantly, how to avoid turnover among developmental assignees, (3)investigating the moderating role of repatriation support practices, and (4) enhancingour understanding of the repatriation success from an organizational perspective. Inaddition, the findings would also have meaningful implications for practitionersseeking to lower turnover rates among repatriates, increase employee willingness forexpatriation, and to design an effective repatriation system.The targeted study population will be organizations listed in the “2016 Top 5000Business Ranking,” published by the China Credit Information Service. The targeted participants will be HR representatives who are familiar with the company’s repatriatepolicies and practices from these companies, for example, vice presidents (or seniormanagers) of HR department or employees in charge of expatriate policies and practices to participate.
Effective start/end date1/08/1731/07/18

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Repatriates
  • repatriate turnover
  • developmental assignments
  • employee willingness for expatriation
  • repatriation support practices


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