Career decisions of married Indian IT female expatriates

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Shah, Dhara
Agrawal, Narendra M
Moeller, Miriam
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Purpose: Despite more than 50 years of research into gender and work, the impact of female expatriates persists to be underrepresented in mainstream international human resource management (IHRM) literature. The purpose of this paper is to identify and explore the perceptions of married Indian information technology (IT) women regarding career and expatriating discussions they have with their husbands and its impact on their decision making to undertake international assignments. Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 married Indian IT women who had undertaken international assignments after marriage. The study includes two data sets, 1: women on less than one-year assignment; 2: women on greater than one-year assignments. Findings: The study found that women who went on short-term assignments of less than one year travelled alone and found it fortunate and convenient to leave their children in the care of their husbands, in-laws, parents and maids. While in the cases of women travelling for longer-term assignments, most husbands accompanied them. The study suggests that while spousal support was the key, having a shared purpose with husbands along with extended family support was equally significant to facilitate women undertaking an international assignment. As an impetus, the authors note a change within the Indian society where both partners come together to make decisions about expatriating. Research limitations/implications: The authors discuss the implications for IHRM as they relate to gender diversity within organisations. Originality/value: The research, underpinned by the early workings of a theory of career hierarchy, explores the complexities in expatriation decision-making processes of married women from the emerging economy of India with traditional family values, who are working within a modern and liberal IT industry.

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Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research
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Human resources and industrial relations
Strategy, management and organisational behaviour
Social Sciences
Business & Economics
Expatriate assignment
Career hierarchy
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Shah, D; Agrawal, NM; Moeller, M, Career decisions of married Indian IT female expatriates, Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, 2019, 7 (4), pp. 395-418