International assignment and repatriation experiences of Indian international assignees in The Netherlands

  • Valk R
  • van der Velde M
  • van Engen M
 et al. 
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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the influence of cultural identity change, organizational and social support and cultural distance on repatriation experiences of Indian international assignees. Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were held with 19 Indians on international assignment in The Netherlands and 11 Indians repatriated from The Netherlands. Respondents were asked to reflect on their cultural identity changes and the effects of social support, organizational support and cultural distance between the host and the home country on their international assignment and repatriation experiences. Iterative thematic analyses revealed five central themes: cultural identity independence; knowledge utilization and organizational learning; social network support; global career prospects in the Indian economy; work-life balance. Findings: Cultural identity changes ranged from low adaptation to Dutch culture and happiness on return to India through to high cultural flexibility and readiness to move to another sojourn. The majority of respondents reported great appreciation by their supervisors and co-workers and utilization of their knowledge gained in The Netherlands. These factors, in addition to good career prospects and social support from their informal networks, contributed positively to their repatriation experiences. Originality/value: This study challenges the frequently reported negative repatriation experiences of sojourners from the West. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cross cultural studies
  • Cultural distance
  • Cultural identity changes
  • India
  • International assignments
  • Organizational support
  • Repatriation experiences
  • Social support
  • The Netherlands

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Authors

  • Reimara Valk

  • Mandy van der Velde

  • Marloes van Engen

  • Betina Szkudlarek

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