Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Determinants of Repatriate Turnover Intentions: An Empirical Analysis

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Determinants of Repatriate Turnover Intentions: An Empirical Analysis

Article excerpt

This study examined how the factors of repatriation adjustment, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction affect Taiwanese repatriates' intent to leave the organization and how these factors can predict their turnover intentions. The results of multiple regression analysis indicated that repatriation adjustment was the strongest predictor of intent to leave the organization for Taiwanese repatriates after repatriation. The repatriates who perceived a higher level of repatriation adjustment had a lower intent to leave. In addition to repatriation adjustment, regression analysis also found that organizational commitment significantly related to intent to leave upon repatriation. Organizational commitment was the second most important predictor in explaining the variance of intent to leave. However, the effect of job satisfaction was not significant as an effective predictor of intent to leave the organization. With the globalization of economies, the large amounts of capital invested in international personnel, the repatriation process requires further attention. This study was evidence about the difficulty of repatriation process and reports that repatriation adjustment and organizational commitment are two major factors influencing repatriates' turnover intention. As a result, the model in predicting repatriates turnover intentions can be modified by eliminating the variable of job satisfaction. The remaining two predicting variables, repatriation adjustment and organizational commitment, can still explain a significant portion of repatriates' turnover intentions.


With the pressure of globalization, international job mobility is becoming a more common experience for a growing number of employees (Bonache, 2005). Moreover, it is critical for multinational organizations to remain competitive in the area of international human resource development and management. In reviewing international human resource management studies, much attention is given to the process of expatriation, much less attention is given to repatriation, the final link to the completion of the international assignment (Bonache, Brewster, & Suutari, 200 1; Riusala & Suutari, 2000). The multinational organizations always assume that the re-entry to the parent country is non-problematic or even an non-issue (Black & Gregersen, 1998). However, research indicates that repatriation can be more difficult adjustment than expatriation (Forster, 2000).

Given the fact that 25% of repatriates leave parent companies within one year of coming home and more than 50% of the executives in a survey of US corporations said they experienced social re-entry problems upon repatriation, returning home can be hazardous to the organizations and repatriates (Bland, 2002). Most organizations have not been very accommodating and repatriate turnover continues to remain high even top-down interventions have been implemented to reduce repatriate turnover (O'Sullivan, 2002). Sending talented managers on foreign assignments and successfully integrating them upon their return seems to challenge even the more astute human resources professionals (Jassawalla, Connelly, & Slojkowski, 2004).

A lack of respect for acquired skills from overseas assignment, loss of status, and reverse culture shock are continuing problems in many organizations ( Stahl, Miller, & Tung, 2002). Organizations risk losing all of the investment in sending the employee abroad if the repatriation process is not handled smoothly and the employee leaves the company (Nelson, 2005). Due to such problems, organizations have a stake in finding ways to facilitate a smooth transition for repatriates through the development of a better understanding of the repatriation process.

Therefore, understanding the role of repatriation adjustment, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment in the repatriation process should give organizations an edge to use these factors for successful adjustment and retention of repatriates. …

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