Home, family and the self-initiated expatriate experience: Living with uncertainty, complexity and change

David Clark, Yochanan Altman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


We present the life stories of Self-Initiated Expatriates (SIEs) in Crete as a means of broadening the discussion on expatriation and the family-work interface. While SIEs have been depicted in the literature as adjusting more readily and more effectively to local cultures and working environments than Assigned Expatriates (Vaiman V, Halsberger A (eds) Managing talent of selfinitiated expatriates: A neglected source of the global talent flow. Palgrave McMillan, London, 2013; Andresen M, Bergdolt F, Margenfeld J, What distinguishes self-initiated expatriates from assigned expatriates and migrants. In: Andresen M, Al Ariss A, Walther M (eds) Self-initiated expatriation: Individual, organizational, and national perspectives. Routledge, London, pp 11-41, 2013b. This chapter explores differences and contrasting experiences within a group of Self-Initiated Expatriates. We examine such narratives and modes of adjustment through the model of adjustment first outlined by Black and Gregersen (Hum Relat 44:497-515, 1991) with additional insights on family role re-adjustment provided by Lazarova et al. (Acad Manage Rev 35(1):93-117, 2010). By focusing our study on members of an expatriate association, the Cretan International Community, (CIC), based in Chania, we were able to draw upon a more varied and diverse population than is usually the case for work-based expatriate research. Moreover, by conducting the research over a 10 year period, we were able to chart the ever shifting and complex nature of expatriation. Indeed, we found that the nature of adjustment is far from uniform and varies considerably, even within the same household. Moreover, over time, changing family dynamics and evolving needs within the wider extended family entailed considerable readjustments along the way. The main contribution of our study has been to illustrate the very fluid manner in which expatriate households adjust and constantly readjust to evolving needs of different members of the wider extended family and to changing personal and economic circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWork and Family Interface in the International Career Context
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319176475
ISBN (Print)9783319176468
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.


  • Cultural adjustment
  • Family adjustment
  • Longitudinal
  • Multigenerational
  • Self-initiated expatriation
  • Sense of home
  • Work adjustment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Social Sciences


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