Our second Top20 favorite reading list to celebrate #WAIB’s 20th anniversary is dedicated to the topic of global careers. It was compiled by Saba Colakoglu with recommendations from Zeynep Aycan, Paula Caligiuri, Anne-Wil Harzing, Mila Lazarova, and Margaret Shaffer. They picked readings that are timeless, seminal, interesting, or that made them think differently.

We also acknowledge and recognize the many contributions of all scholars that are part of the lively intellectual conversation on global careers.  Happy reading! At the end of this page you will find two video interviews with Anne-Wil Harzing, the author of article #5 and #1 on this list.

20)  Akkan, E., Lee, Y. T., & Reiche, B. S. (2022). How and when do prior international experiences lead to global work? A career motivation perspective. Human Resource Management, 61(1), 117-132.


Introducing “global identity” as a mediator between prior international experiences and their global work aspirations, which in turn leads to their global work involvement is interesting.  Testing this model in a multi-wave, multi-source dataset spanning six years is impressive. Hence, the paper takes its rightful spot on our #top20 list.

19) Sang, K. J., & Calvard, T. (2019). ‘I’m a migrant, but I’m the right sort of migrant’: Hegemonic masculinity, whiteness, and intersectional privilege and (dis) advantage in migratory academic careers. Gender, Work & Organization, 26(10), 1506-1525.


A recently emerging area within #globalcarers is focused on the international careers of academics. This qualitative study captured our attention with its finding showing that “while some migrant academics may experience disadvantage, for Anglo white male senior academics, considerable privilege is (re)produced through the migration experience.”

18) Tharenou, P. (2010). Women’s self-initiated expatriation as a career option and its ethical issues. Journal of Business Ethics, 95(1), 73-88.


This article made it to our #top20 reading list in #globalcareers because it presents compelling analysis to show that women self-expatriate partly to “redress the gender inequality and unfair treatment inherent in domestic managerial advancement and in access to company-assigned expatriation” and in order to gain better and faster access to managerial positions and international assignments.

17) Crowley‐Henry, M., & Weir, D. (2007). The international protean career: four women’s narratives. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 20(2): 245-258.


We feature this article in our #globalcareers reading list because it illustrates the power of story-telling in enhancing our understanding of global careers and career trajectories of women. Relying on qualitative in-depth interviews, the findings highlight the concept of protean careers, described as “having an ability to reform oneself” also referred to as “morphing”. The findings demonstrate how the women in the sample had the proven capability of morphing their professional role over time due to changing circumstances.

16) Paisley, V., & Tayar, M. (2016). Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) expatriates: An intersectionality perspective. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(7), 766-780.


Expatriation of LGBTQ employees is still not part of the mainstream research on #globalcareers. This paper made it to our #top20list because it highlights the challenges and identity management strategies of LGBTQ expatriates and the adapts a novel social constructionist perspective of intersectionality to shows how different spheres of cultural context influence LGBT expatriates’ multiple identities.

15) Zikic, J., Bonache, J., & Cerdin, J. L. (2010). Crossing national boundaries: A typology of qualified immigrants’ career orientations. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31(5), 667-686.


Global careers literature started shifting away from corporate expatriation to focus on qualified immigrants (QI) within the past decade. This qualitative study made it to our #top20 because it skillfully extended the boundaryless career perspective by providing a fine-grained analysis of how Qis manage physical and psychological mobility during self-initiated international career transitions.

14) McNulty, Yvonne, & Brewster, Chris (2017). Theorizing the meaning(s) of “expatriate’: establishing boundary conditions for business expatriates. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(1), 27-61.


Another paper for our #top20 reading list on #globalcareers recommended by Anne-Wil Harzing.  This paper critiques the “sloppy” use of the term expatriate in the past which led to problems of inconsistent and incompatible findings. The paper successfully clarifies to whom the term ‘expatriate’ applies and the boundary conditions under which expatriate employment is enacted.

13) Shaffer, M. A., Kraimer, M. L., Chen, Y. P., & Bolino, M. C. (2012). Choices, challenges, and career consequences of global work experiences: A review and future agenda. Journal of Management, 38(4), 1282-1327.


This paper came to the rescue when titles used to define global work experiences proliferated without much clarity. This paper summarized and synthesized this growing body of literature to develop a taxonomy of global work experiences and hence, took its rightful spot on our #top20 reading list that shaped the #globalcareers area.

12) Peiperl, M. & Jonsen, K. (2007). Global careers. In H. Gunz & M. Peiperl (Eds.) Handbook of Career Studies (pp. 350-372). Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA.


Mila Lazaorva recommends this chapter for our list since this is one of the first thought pieces which argued that international careers may not always involve physical mobility. “It is almost common sense now but back then when one said “international career”, people almost always thoughts expatriates. They have a 2X2 that I thought was great and I cite this to this day”.

11) Dickmann, M., & Harris, H. (2005). Developing career capital for global careers: The role of international assignments. Journal of World Business, 40(4), 399-408.


Margaret Shaffer recommends this article for our #globalcareers reading list, which she also includes in her International Management Ph.D. seminar because of its novel approach to understanding global career competencies. She especially likes the attention given to international assignments as a means of developing these competencies. We agree.  The paper skillfully highlights the importance of informal norms and develops a nuanced picture of the impact of an international assignment on the knowing how, knowing why, and knowing whom career capital of individuals within global organizations.

10)  Suutari, V., & Taka, M. (2004). Career anchors of managers with global careers. Journal of Management Development, 23(9): 833-847.


Career anchors relate to a person’s self‐concept, consisting of self‐perceived talents, values, and motives. This study – recommended by Paula Caligiuri to our list – presented new evidence regarding the career anchors of global leaders based on a qualitative research methodology. The key conclusion was the discovery of a new “internationalism” career anchor among global leaders: the majority of global managers ranked internationalism as their major anchor or among the few major anchors, suggesting that some individuals are intrinsically wired to seek international experiences and opportunities throughout their careers.

9) Adler, N. J., & Osland, J. S. (2016). Women leading globally: what we know, thought we knew, and need to know about leadership in the 21st century. In J. S. Osland, M. Li, & M. Mendenhall (Eds.), Advances in Global Leadership, (pp. 15–56). Emerald Group Publishing.


This chapter was recommended to our #top20 reading list by Zeynep Aycan. We especially like this paper because it reveals the accelerating trends of women joining men in senior leadership positions globally and establishes the relationship of women leaders to the understanding of global leadership.

8) Hamori, M., & Koyuncu, B. (2011). Career advancement in large organizations in Europe and the United States: Do international assignments add value? The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(04), 843-862.


Mila Lazarova recommended this article for the #top20 reading list because “it asks a question fundamental in the expatriation literature (career impact of foreign postings). It has objective data (I thought they approached the problem very creatively) and has very thought-provoking findings”.  We agree. The authors find that international experience slows the executives’ ascent to the top, longer assignments and a larger number of assignments being detrimental to their speed of ascent to top corporate positions.

7) Caligiuri, P. M., & Tung, R. L. (1999). Comparing the success of male and female expatriates from a US-based multinational company. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 10(5), 763-782.


Our quest for better understanding success factors and gendered differences in international assignments continue to this day. This pick for our #top20 list examines differences between male and female expatriates’ success during international assignments. Results suggest there are no differences between men and women in either supervisor-rated performance or desire to terminate the assignment regardless of the cultural values of the host countries to which expatriates are assigned. However, in masculine and high power distance countries women rated their cross-cultural adjustment lower compared to their male counterparts.

6) Baruch, Yehuda, Dickmann, Michael, Altman, Yochanan, & Bournois, Frank (2013). Exploring international work: types and dimensions of global careers. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(12), 2369-2393.


This article was recommended by Anne-Wil Harzing to our list on #globalcareers because this is another paper that “contributed massively to shaping the international careers field by taking stock and moving it forward.”

5) Harzing, A. W. (2001). Of bears, bumble-bees, and spiders: The role of expatriates in controlling foreign subsidiaries. Journal of World Business, 36(4), 366-379.


The origins of #globalcareers literature dates back to when the majority of articles published on this topic focused on expatriation. We picked this study for our #globalcareers list because it increased our awareness of the strategic control functions that expatriates fill for the effective management of MNC subsidiaries.  The powerful metaphors this study introduced to the literature for different functions of expatriation were “bear” (formal direct control), “bumble-bee” (socialization), and “spider” (informal communication).

4) 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(1), 93-117.


A significant theoretical contribution to our #20 reading list on #globalcareers.  The authors meticulously develop a model that expands the concept of expatriate adjustment to include family role adjustment and they also map the relationships among different forms of adjustment.

3) Stahl, G. K., Miller, E. L., & Tung, R. L. (2002). Toward the boundaryless career: A closer look at the expatriate career concept and the perceived implications of an international assignment. Journal of World Business, 37(3), 216-227.


We highlight this study on our list on #globalcareers because its findings supported the then emerging notion of “boundaryless careers”. Based on the results “most expatriates view their international assignment as an opportunity for personal and professional development, despite perceived deficits in corporate career management systems and a widespread skepticism that the assignment will help them advance within their companies”.

2)  Collings, David G., Scullion, Hugh, & Morley, Michael J. (2007). Changing patterns of global staffing in the multinational enterprise: Challenges to the conventional expatriate assignment and emerging alternatives. Journal of World Business, 42(2), 198-213, ISSN 1090-9516


This article was recommended by Anne-Wil Harzing to our list on #global careers because it is one of the papers that “contributed massively to shaping the international careers field by taking stock and moving it forward.”

1) Harzing, A. W. K. (1995). The persistent myth of high expatriate failure rates. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 6(2), 457-474.


Our first pick for the #top20 reading list on #globalcareers is seminal and timeless. Anne-Wil Harzing gives us a primer on triple-checking the resources we use to support our claims in research. She showed that “the persistent myth of high expatriate failure rates seems to have been created by massive (mis)quotations of three articles” during a time when virtually every publication on the topic started by this specific claim.



To learn more about Anne-Wil and her contributions to the academic community, visit her website https://harzing.com/home