Alternative international assignments

Research on alternative (non-expatriate) international assignments has found that ‘commuter’, ‘short-term’, ‘frequent flyer’ and ‘flexpatriate’ assignments have become increasingly common (Collings, Scullion & Morley, 2007; Mayerhofer, Hartmann, Michelitsch-Riedl & Kollinger, 2004; Shaffer, Kraimer, Chen & Bolino, 2012). The use ofinternational frequent flyers and short-term assignments in the context of higher education has even been investigated (McDonnell & Boyle, 2012). Although research in this area is still scarce, what has been done suggests that relative to domestic recruiting practices, global recruiting practices need to change to adjust to the differing dynamics of alternative international assignments (Meyskens, Von Glinow, Werther & Clarke, 2009). It should be noted that there are unique stressors associated with short-term assignments such as managing work-family conflicts during frequent absences and adjusting to frequent changes in cultural context (Shaffer, Kraimer, Chen & Bolino, 2012). Determining the nature of the most frequently encountered stressors, as well as identifying individual characteristics that enable coping with such stressors, would enable organizations to recruit more effectively for such positions. Research suggests that organizations overestimate the role of financial motives and underestimate the importance of career, work-life balance and development considerations in the acceptance of international assignments (Dickmann, Doherty, Mills & Brewster, 2008). These factors should influence both the practice and outcomes of any global recruitment effort targeted at alternative international assignments.

 
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