The JGM BitBlog: The Self-Determined Self-Initiated Adventurous Professionals: Unraveling Motivations, Basic Needs, and Well-Being Abroad

Journal of Global Mobility

Aziz Madi, German-Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan
Abdelrahim Alsoussi, German-Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan
Omar M. Shubailat, German-Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan

Extensive research has delved into the motivations of self-initiated expatriates (SIEs). However, this exploration has revealed that SIEs' motivations are considerably more intricate than previously understood. These motivations are interconnected, and their significance varies based on factors such as the country context, gender, mobility frequency, demographic traits, and industry sector. Moreover, these motivations evolve throughout the expatriation journey, including decisions regarding repatriation. Consequently, essential questions arise: How can we study SIEs' motivations in a manner that captures the underlying mechanisms of these shifting motivations while also illuminating the well-being of SIEs? To address these inquiries, we conducted a replication study.
The objective of this replication study was to generalize and expand upon the findings of Oberholster et al.'s (2013) work on the motivation of humanitarian and religious workers. To achieve this, we utilized a diverse, more generalized sample of SIEs, primarily from developing countries, employing a multilayered analytical approach by adding latent class analysis. Additionally, we incorporated concepts from Self-determination Theory (SDT), specifically the Basic Psychological Needs (BPNs) comprising autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
In this replication effort, we validated the original study's findings and augmented them by incorporating the BPNs as an underlying mechanism to comprehend expatriate motivations. This allowed us to establish connections between these motivations and the regulated motivations outlined in SDT. Furthermore, we explored the correlation between these motivations and the psychological well-being level essential for expatriation success.
The highlight of this contribution is the revealed new motivational cluster termed "Adventurous Professionals," supplementing the support for the original four clusters. These adventurous professionals predominantly consist of single males in their 30s and 40s originating from developing countries. They work in developed countries, belong to medium-sized families, and are relatively new to intermediate expatriates who are engaged in private organizations, with a tenure of up to two years in their current roles. This unique cluster was analyzed in comparison to other clusters, with detailed insights provided in the article.
In essence, this research emphasizes the significance of replication studies. By highlighting the emergence of a novel motivational cluster and reinforcing existing ones, this study contributes valuable insights to the ongoing research discourse on the motivations behind expatriation.

To read the full article, please see the Journal of Global Mobility publication:
Madi, A., Alsoussi, A. and Shubailat, O.M. (2023), "Self-initiated expatriates motivation and basic psychological needs – a generalization and extension replication", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 358-387.