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Employees’ readiness to relocate abroad plays a crucial role for the success or failure of expatriate assignments. Hence, companies should consider employees’ international relocation mobility readiness (IRMR) when selecting candidates for international postings. However, past research has conceptualized and measured IRMR heterogeneously, hampering the interpretation and comparability of IRMR research results. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to provide a new conceptualization of IRMR and to give recommendations for its measurement.Design/methodology/approachBased on the business, psychological and sociological literature, this paper reviews and categorizes how IRMR has been conceptualized and measured. To structure the findings, a directed content analysis was applied. The sample comprises 88 journal articles.FindingsThe results reveal that studies seldom provide a conceptualization of IRMR. While the authors often find a misfit between the studies’ explicit conceptualization and the actual measurement of IRMR, most scales actually measure willingness (i.e. usually a predictor of risky and spontaneous behavior).Research limitations/implicationsBased on the results and the Rubicon model of action phases (Heckhausen and Gollwitzer, 1987), the authors recommend future research to conceptualize IRMR as a dynamic multidimensional construct, covering the different phases of an individual’s decision to relocate internationally. Future, IRMR measurements should also cover the complexity of IRMR, e.g. regarding specific location characteristics.Practical implicationsCompanies should consider the whole decision-making process regarding IRMR to apply specific measures at the best possible time.Originality/valueThis paper investigates IRMR scales according to their scientific validity and hence provides the basic ground for future scale development studies.
Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 31, 2018
Keywords: Literature review; Conceptualization and measurement; Expatriation willingness; International relocation mobility readiness; Migration intention; Willingness to relocate abroad
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