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Psychological Contracts of International Business Travellers

Atkinson, Carol and Pareit, Els (2019) Psychological Contracts of International Business Travellers. Personnel Review, 48 (7). pp. 1701-1715. ISSN 0048-3486

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of psychological contracts of international business travellers (IBTs), a new form of expatriate that has arisen from the growing need for alternative forms of internationally mobile talent. The research is conducted in Belgium, a country recognised as a global hub in which international assignments are essential to economic success. Design/methodology/approach – Research in respect of IBTs is limited and semi-structured interviews are used to explore Belgian employee perspectives. Findings – The contract is more relational in nature than might be expected with an idiosyncratic mix of relational and transactional obligations. Research limitations/implications – The research is small-scale and qualitative and not widely generalisable. Further it presents only employee perspectives. Nevertheless it generates rich insights into a phenomena about which little is known. Practical implications – The findings develop understanding of how to manage the valuable strategic resource that is the IBT. Originality/value – First, the research is of value to the International Human Resource Management field in developing understanding of a newly emerging form of international employee, the IBT. Second, it contributes to psychological contract research in both developing understanding the transactional/relational balance and in generating much-needed rich and nuanced qualitative data.

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