Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on a thesis on global careers; a topic relevant to many project managers working internationally. The main purpose of the thesis was to contribute to the understanding of global careers through applying an identity construction perspective on narratives of global careerists' working lives. Design/methodology/approach – Through a narrative approach, 20 interviews with Swedish global careerists were analyzed and comparison of two types of global careerists was made – repeat expatriates and international itinerants. Findings – The repeat expatriates and international itinerants are shown to have different patterns in their identity construction and there are differences in their career orientations, in their identifications with the organizations they work for, with their careers and with what they do. They also differ in how they identify with their home country and culture and the countries and cultures in which they live. Circumstances such as the type of location, the time abroad, and if the work abroad is perceived as temporary, are significant in their identity construction. Practical implications – Both organizations and individuals benefit from understanding the implications of such careers. The results of this study can lead to the development of HRM practices to attract and maintain the relationship with these individuals and draw on their skills. Originality/value – By considering individuals' subjective experiences of global careers through an identity construction perspective, new understanding can be reached on individuals undergoing multiple transitions over the course of their careers.
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 7, 2012
Keywords: Expatriates; Careers; Narratives; Project management; Identity construction; Social identity; Global careers; Sweden