Successful female expatriates as agents: Positioning oneself through gender, hierarchy, and culture

Janssens, Maddy; Cappellen, Tineke; Zanoni, Patrizia
June 2006
Journal of World Business;Jun2006, Vol. 41 Issue 2, p133
Academic Journal
Abstract: While most studies on female expatriates take a structural approach, this study considers female expatriates as active agents, capable of producing effective professional identities when interacting with men. We propose that female expatriates are agents who selectively interpret interactions with male actors and actively position themselves within these interactions. Within these two processes of interpreting and positioning, we examine how they draw from gender, hierarchy and culture as three power-laden identity discourses that not only constrain but also enable their actions. Through the analysis of in-depth interviews with successful female expatriates, we show how these women counter their (perceived) lower status along one identity discourse by strategically positioning themselves through a more empowering identity.


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