The opportunity cost of saving money: An exploratory study of permanent transfers and localization of expatriates in Singapore

Elise Sarah Tait, Helen Louise De Cieri, Yvonne Maria McNulty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In this exploratory study we draw on interviews with 12 expatriate staff, seven of whom are permanent transfers to a Singapore-based subsidiary of a global knowledge-based firm. Using goal congruence theory as an extension of agency theory, we compare the motivation, adjustment, retention, and careers of permanent transferees who subsequently localize in the host location to those of traditional expatriates in the same location. Our findings show that expatriates who are expected to work as locals in a host country not only receive less compensation, but also receive less preparation and support than traditional expatriates despite the fact that both groups of employees work under similar conditions and face similar challenges. Our study has important implications for research and practice in the planning and management of global mobility programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80 - 95
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Studies of Management & Organization
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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