University of Leicester
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Career Decision-Making: A Case Study of Independent Academic Expatriates

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posted on 2012-06-08, 15:09 authored by Marie Alina Yeo
Although the number of transnational institutions worldwide has increased dramatically over the past decade, little is known about the “independent academic expatriates” (IAEs) teaching in those institutions. This study investigates the influences that have shaped the decisions of 14 IAEs to seek and retain positions in a transnational institution in a developing country in Southeast Asia. Specifically, this study examines their reasons for leaving their previous job(s) and for joining and staying at the case institution. It also looks at potential and actual reasons for leaving the case institution. The major outcome of this study is a grounded theory of how the respondents made decisions about whether to change job locations. Using grounded theory approaches, categories of reasons and types of IAEs emerged, on the basis of which a foundational theory of decisional job location is proposed. The key concepts of this theory are that IAEs make decisions about a change of job location on the basis of personal, vocational, relational, institutional, and geographical reasons which exert “push”, “pull” and “static” forces, the interplay of which influences the outcome of their decision-making to stay at or stray from their present job location. Furthermore, the relative prominence of each category and their overall pattern varies across IAEs, generating a typology. This typology consists of four types: Opportunist, “Kin-nected”, Expatriate Partner, and Altruist. The substantive theory of decisional job location contributes to the fields of transnational education, academic career development and expatriation by providing insights into the myriad of influences that shape the individual’s decision to change job locations, thus enabling the case institution and similar transnational institutions to improve recruitment and retention. The study also gives a voice and identity to the growing number of IAEs working in transnational institutions around the world.



Dimmock, Clive; Ainley, Janet

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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • EdD



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