Towards Effective Management of Expatriate Spouses

Punnett, Betty Jane
September 1997
Journal of World Business;Fall97, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p243
Academic Journal
Companies with international linkages often find it necessary to use expatriates for a variety of reasons, and the success of these expatriates is frequently critical to the success of the project on which they are working. Many of these companies could potentially benefit from including the spouse in the expatriation process. For example, about 15% of expatriate candidates were reported to have rejected a foreign assignment because of their spouse `s career, and this is expected to be a growing reason for rejection, especially in North America and Western Europe. This may also be true in other parts of the world, because of an increasing number of working women, and women with careers, in all parts of the world. Substantial research has indicated that spouses are particularly important to the success of the expatriate process, but, surprisingly, there is little research that looks at the expatriate process from the spouse `s viewpoint This is especially true for spouses with a career and with male spouses; little is known of their situation and concerns. This paper draws on a series of research projects that do address the spouse `s viewpoint to suggest practical means by which companies can improve the expatriation process by including the spouse.


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