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.
Research on expatriates indicates that substantial differences exist within internationally
active employees. Several typologies of expatriates have been suggested to account for this
diverseness. However, empirical evidence on the accuracy of these classification schemes is
scarce. Based on these research efforts, we introduce a data-based taxonomy of internationally
mobile managers. By means of sequence analysis we derive four career patterns from the
curriculi vitae of 202 German managers. These patterns are built on the dimensions mobility
and duration of the stays abroad. We further show that these patterns differ with regard to
various individual and organizational variables. Based on these findings, we argue that
expatriation career management practices and responsibilities need to be differentiated.