Understanding the decision making process of self-initiated expatriates: A consumer behaviour approach

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The increasing mobility of the global labour market has led to the emergence of a new form of ‘self-initiated’ expatriate (SIE). Through the lens of consumer decision making theory, this study explores the process through which SIEs make the decision to expatriate. Drawing on in-depth qualitative case studies of eleven SIEs, we identify the key processes and behaviours they use when deciding to expatriate. Our results show that, in general, SIEs tend to employ high involvement decision processes that incorporate rational decision models and a wide range of information sources. We distil three broad typologies of SIEs: ‘opportunistic’, ‘risk minimisation’, and ‘emotionally driven’.
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