A counterintuitive condition: exploring business expatriations as lived experiences

  • Joao Vasco Coelho Iscte — Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia (CIES-Iscte), Lisboa, Portugal
Keywords: business internationalization, business expatriation, international mobility, employee experience


Business expatriation practices have brought new conditions of action for individuals and organizations, as well as new managerial challenges for in and of organizations. This article analyzes the implications of business expatriations as contemporary global work setting, with the empirical support of 24 individual cases observed in the context of five international companies, born or present in Portugal. Results suggest that, as a lived experience, being or becoming expatriate in a company can correspond to a work and life situation permeable to the experience of a sense of contradiction and diffluence, a circumstance that is associated with inherent objective attributes of an expatriation as global work setting. Six attributes are described and discussed in this regard, as operators that contribute to differentiate expatriation personal experiences.