Future Directions


Further research on non-traditional expatriates, especially LGBT expatriates, should aim to explore the impact of LGBT expatriates’ “intersectionality” (Ali, Malik, Pereira, & Al Ariss, 2016). In other words, LGBT expatriates may also differ from each other in terms of gender, age, race, marital status, and talent; and therefore, what difficulties gay expatriates experienced in their international assignment might not be the same as those experienced by lesbian expatriates. Consequently, the ways to protect gay expatriates might not work for lesbian expatriates. Indeed, Gedro (2010) found that lesbian expatriates face far more discrimination in the international environment, because they face discrimination for their gayness and their femaleness in addition to their foreignness (Olsen & Martins, 2009). Similarly, Thorpe-Moscon and Pollack (2014) presented that lesbian employees are more likely to lower their aspirations to contribute to the company (42 percent) than their gay counterparts (29 percent) due to their additional “otherness.”

In the same vein, LGBT expatriates with their same sex spouses may have complex challenges, including obtaining a marriage certificate. Despite the fact that same sex married expatriates compose four percent of total expatriates according to a survey by Brookfield Global Relocation Services (2015), Mercer’s Worldwide Survey (2011) reported that only 38 percent of the company had broadened the definition of spouse regardless of their sex.


Like any research study, this study has limitations. The first limitation of the current study is the small number of cases; hence, the generalizability and replicability of the case findings are limited. Yet, as Stake (1995) stated, the real business of case study is particularization, not generalization. The main purpose of case study research is not necessarily to generalize hypotheses, but to observe phenomena richly and develop a better understanding of each case. Further limitations include the fact that participants were somewhat biased; in particular, all participants are highly educated with graduate degrees and bisexual and transgender expatriates are not included. Therefore, future cases need to have greater demographic variance.

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