Only in recent years have self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) been distinguished from assigned expatriates (AEs). But there is still a lack of empirically based comparative results. Statistical analysis, performed on data from 193 expatriates (N AE = 67; N SIE = 126), indicates that self-initiated foreign work experience is significantly more likely to be chosen by women and those having lower job levels. Furthermore, boundaryless and protean career orientation only partially predicted which career path is chosen. SIEs have higher organizational mobility preferences, but do not differ from AEs in their boundaryless mindset and protean career attitude. Implications of these findings for research in expatriation are discussed.
The goal of this paper is to examine regularities and differences in the application of the three terms assigned expatriate (AE), self-initiated expatriate (SIE) and migrant as the criteria for demarcation are unclear (Al Ariss, 2010; Baruch, Dickmann, Altman, &Bournois, 2010). This research adopts a qualitative approach, using the tool of qualitative content analysis (Mayring, 2010). The data base includes 244 definitions from 10 sociological, psychological and business journals. Results indicate that migrant is the umbrella term for AE and SIE. Therefore a SIE is a migrant who executes his dependent work abroad. In contrast to AEs, decision of employment is made by the host country organization and the first formalized action (i. e. job application) is undertaken by the individual.