Author(s): Earl Naumann
Source: Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 23, No. 3 (3rd Qtr., 1992), pp. 499-531 Published by: Palgrave Macmillan Journals
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/155094 .
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A CONCEPTUAL MODEL
Boise State University
Abstract.Many factorsmay contributeto the high rate of expatriate turnover experienced by U.S. multinational corporations. The objective of this article is to present a comprehensive model of the expatriateturnoverprocessby identifyingthe key contributing factors and suggesting intermediate linkages and relationships. The model appears to have both managerial and theoretical
The majority of U.S. multinationalcorporations(MNCs) suffer from an abnormally igh turnover ateamongexpatriate anagers, articularly hen h
compared o bothforeign-based NCsanddomesticoperations. he turnover M
rate commonly falls in the 20%-50%range for expatriatetransfers[Black 1988; Black and Stephens 1989; Copelandand Griggs 1985; Mendenhall and Oddou 1985;Tung 1988;ZeiraandBanai 1985], althoughturnover ay m
be as high as 70% for some firns, particularlyn less developed countries i
[Desatnick and Bennett 1978; Lanier 1979]. The problem of expatriate i
turnovers more evidentamongU.S.-basedMNCs thanamongforeign-based MNCs. Tung  noted that turnoverrates among U.S. MNCs are two to three times higher than foreign MNCs. For example, Tung's research M
indicatedthatonly 3%of European NCs and 14%of JapaneseMNCs had turnoverrates greaterthan 10% of expatriatetransferswhile 76% of U.S. MNCs had turnoverrates exceeding that level.
Althoughdirectcomparisons etweendomestic(U.S.) andexpatriateurnover ratesaredifficult,expatriateurnover atesappear o be at leasttwice domestic t
rates. "Expatriateturnover"or "expatriatefailure" typically includes all individualswho quit or transferback to the U.S. priorto the completionof theirexpectedforeignassignments. ome researchersontendthat"expatriate S
turnover"may also occur up to a year or more after repatriation[Adler 1986; Harvey 1989]. Conversely,virtuallyall domestic studies of turnover refer to the separationof the employee from the organizationwith the o
preponderancef the studiesconcentratingn voluntaryurnover. o illustrate, in McEvoy ndCascio's 1987]meta-analytic
*Earl Naumannis Professorof Marketingat Boise State University.He received his Ph.D. from ArizonaState University.
The authorwould like to thankthe reviewersfor their effort and contributions hich helped signifiw cantly improvesome crudeideas.
Received: September1990; Revised: February,June, September1991 & January1992; Accepted: February1992.
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONALBUSINESS STUDIES, THIRD QUARTER 1992
twenty-four studies involving 7,717 individuals were cited. External turnover rates varied from 3% to 106% annually with a median of 22%. However, the subjects in the studies were drawn from nineteen rather generic job s
categories including aerospace employees, pharmaceutical cientists, engineers, navy enlisted personnel, nurses, bank tellers, and small business new hires,...