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Invitation to publish in the JGM special issue - Global Employees...Global Families

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Global Mobility

Special Issue Guest Editors:  
Margaret Shaffer, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Mina Westman, Tel Aviv University

Submission deadline: June 30, 2014, 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time

In response to global competitiveness and the enhanced permeability of national boundaries, multinational organizations have expanded their portfolio of global employees. Global employees are those who have job responsibilities that are international in scope and content. Included in this portfolio are traditional corporate and self-initiated expatriates, frequent international business travelers (IBTs), short-term assignees, international business commuters (IBCs), global virtual team members, global domestics, inpatriates and repatriates (Brookfield Global Relocation Services, 2012; Mayrhofer, Hartmann, Michelitsch-Riedl, & Kollinger, 2004; Maznevski, Davison, & Jonsen, 2006; Suutari & Brewster, 2000; Tharenou, 2005; Westman, 2004).  While these various forms of global employees differ in term of their work requirements (Shaffer, Kraimer, Chen, & Bolino, 2012), families are a salient influence for all types.

Most extant research on global employees and families has targeted expatriates. Although a fairly substantial body of research has developed with respect to expatriate families (see Lazarova, Westman, & Shaffer, 2010), this literature has generally focused on willingness to take an assignment and adjustment. Other important issues, such as the careers of ‘trailing partners’ and the difficulties of fulfilling extended family obligations (e.g., elder care) while geographically dispersed have been less well researched. Furthermore, despite the progress that has been made in understanding expatriate families, organizations, expatriates and family members seem to continue to underestimate the familial challenges associated with international assignments. For example, ‘family and personal circumstances’ and ‘spouse’s career’ continue to dominate as the major reason for refusing to take an international assignment (Brookfield Global Relocations, 2012), and ‘family concerns’, ’spouse dissatisfaction’, and ‘inability of the spouse to adjust’ top the list of reasons for failed expatriate assignments (Cartus & Primacy, 2010). 

Relative to expatriate families, we know very little about the family experiences of other forms of global employees such as IBTs, short-term assignees, global domestics, etc. In contrast with expatriate families, most other global employee families do not relocate to a foreign country. Nevertheless, the global roles and responsibilities of employees, especially those who travel frequently to other countries, may disrupt their family lives. In particular, the physical separation of employees and families may result in increased stress for all family members. Consequently, research is needed to identify spousal (e.g., personality, career orientation) and family characteristics (e.g., number and age of children, family functioning, and other potentially relevant factors) that affect the stress of being physically separated for weeks or months at a time. Adding to the challenges of trying to balance the competing demands of global work and families, organizational support policies and practices are usually for expatriates only; other forms of global employees are often left to fend for themselves.  

To better understand the family experiences of this growing diverse portfolio of global employees, this special issue intends to provide a platform to draw together scholarly research that contributes to our knowledge about (1) the relocation decisions that global employees and organizations make and how families influence these, (2) the challenges and rewards facing global employees and their families and how these affect all family members, and (3) the responsibilities of organizations for the well-being and safety of the family members of global employees. Original empirical (qualitative and quantitative) research, theory development, meta-analytic reviews, and critical literature reviews are all suitable for potential inclusion in the special issue. Below is an illustrative list of topics that are consistent with the scope of the special issue, but other topics may be appropriate as well:

·         Impact of family on assignment success (performance, retention, etc.)

·         Impact of family on decisions to terminate an assignment

·         Role of the spouse/children in global employment failures

·         Spillover and crossover of adjustment between global employees and spouses or other family members

·         Predictors of successful assignments for both global employees and their families

·         Advantages of predeparture preparation/training for both global employees and their families

·         Advantages and disadvantages of being a trailing spouse

·         Forms of support that are instrumental for effective functioning of global employee families

·         Social isolation of global employee families

·         Factors relating to expatriate and spouse repatriation

·         Work family conflict of global employees

·         Comparison of family experiences across different forms of global employees

·         Organizational policies and practices regarding global employee families

·         Non-traditional global employee family structures (e.g., male trailing spouses, single parent families, special needs children)

·         Global employee family safety and health

·         Work and family role changes for global employee spouses

Submission Process and Timeline

To be considered for the special issue, manuscripts must be submitted no later than June 30, 2014, 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time. Papers may be submitted prior to this deadline as well. Submitted papers will undergo a double-blind review process and will be evaluated by at least two reviewers and a special issue editor. The final acceptance is dependent on the review team’s judgments of the paper’s contribution on four key dimensions:

(1)    Theoretical contribution: Does the article offer novel and innovative insights or meaningfully extend existing theory in the field of global mobility?

(2)    Empirical contribution: Does the article offer novel findings and are the research design, data analysis, and results rigorous and appropriate in testing the hypotheses or research questions?

(3)    Practical contribution: Does the article contribute to the improved management of global mobility?

(4)    Contribution to the special issue topic.

Authors should prepare their manuscripts for blind review according to the Journal of Global Mobility author guidelines, available at Please remove any information that may potentially reveal the identity of the authors to the reviewers. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically at: Authors should select the special issue title 'Global Employees...Global Families'  from the drop down menu.

 For enquiries regarding the special issue please contact either of the two Guest Editors, Margaret Shaffer, at [email protected] and Mina Westman at [email protected]


Brookfield Global Relocation Services. 2012. Global relocation trends survey report. Woodridge, IL.

Cartus, & Primacy. 2010. Global mobility policy and practices survey. Wilmington, NC.

Lazarova, M., Westman, M., & Shaffer, M. A. 2010. Elucidating the positive side of the work-family interface on international assignments: A model of expatriate work and family performance. Academy of Management Review, 35, 93-117.

Mayerhofer, H., Hartmann, L. C., Michelitsch-Riedl, G., & Kollinger, I. 2004. Flexpatriate assignments: A neglected issue in global staffing. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 15: 1371-1389.

Maznevski, M., Davison, S. C., & Jonsen, K. 2006. Global virtual team dynamics and effectiveness. In G. K. Stahl & I. Björkman (Eds.), Handbook of research in international human resource management: 364-384. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Shaffer, M. A., Kraimer, M. L., Chen, Y-P., & Bolino, M. C. 2012. Choices, challenges and career consequences of global employment experiences: A review and future agenda. Journal of Management, 38, 1282-1327.

Suutari, V., & Brewster, C. 2000. Making their own way: International experience through self-initiated foreign assignments. Journal of World Business, 35: 417-136.


Tharenou, P. 2005. International work in domestic jobs: An individual explanation. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16: 475-496.

Westman, M. 2004. Strategies for coping with business trips: A qualitative exploratory study. International Journal of Stress Management, 11: 167-176.