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Title: Social capital theory and self-initiated expatriates' intention to repatriate : German expatriate academics in the United Kingdom
Author: Moemken, Daniel Luke
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 8931
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2017
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As the number of global expatriates continues to rise, the need to understand factors that influence their decisions to remain in their host countries or to return home increases. Self-Initiated Expatriates (SIEs) are defined as individuals who relocate across a national border, for an extended period of time, of their own volition, for work purposes. SIEs are the most prevalent expatriates globally (Finaccord, 2014) but are also some of the least understood. Expatriate academics (EAs) form a subgroup of this wider SIE group, and whilst being fairly representative, face their own unique challenges. Interpersonal links and social networks are influential in EA decisions to stay in or leave their host country, yet little is known about the exact function of networks, and how access to resources through networks influences SIE or EA decisions to remain in their host country or return to their home country. Drawing on social capital theory, this thesis develops a theoretical model that links various characteristics of EAs' ego-networks to EAs' intention to repatriate. Specifically, the model suggests that homophily, density, and hierarchy affect EAs' intention to repatriate and that EAs' national identity and career embeddedness moderate these effects. The developed hypotheses are tested using data collected from surveys among German academic expatriates in the UK Higher Education sector. In total, 213 responses were analysed using multiple regression analyses. The empirical results underline the importance of similarity of nationality between an EA and their network partners as an influencing factor on their intention to repatriate. The similarity in location of the EA and their network connections did not have any significant impact. The network density, and the EAs hierarchical position within their network also had a direct influence on intention to repatriate. The thesis contributes to current research on EAs and SIEs by providing a theory-based explanation of the effect of ego-network characteristics on EAs' intention to repatriate. It also contributes to the development of social capital theory by applying social capital logic in a novel context, clarifying the mechanisms underlying this logic and identifying boundary conditions of this logic in the context of SIE academics. The findings of this research are also relevant for HR practitioners in the UK Higher Education sector, by highlighting factors that may help or hinder the retention of key foreign academics.
Supervisor: Mohr, Alex ; Lee, Soo Hee Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available