Challenges of conducting experimental research in IHRM: Review and recommendations for expatriation

Maria Del Rocio Alcazar Toribio, Daniela Noethen

Research output: Conference paperContribution


International human resource management (IHRM) in general and expatriation literature by extension have been criticized for a lack of experimental research and evidence for causality (Zellmer-Bruhn, Caligiuri, & Thomas, 2016). With the goals of getting a clearer picture of the extant literature, raising awareness, and encouraging much needed future experimental studies, we followed a two-step process, taking the subfield of expatriation as an example: First, we conducted a systematic literature review of experimental studies. The ten articles that met our search criteria showed several patterns, such as exclusively dealing with pre-departure phenomena (e.g., expatriate selection) and on-assignment issues (e.g., adjustment), and mostly sampling individuals that interact with expatriates rather than expatriates themselves. Second, we identified four main challenges unique to conducting experimental studies in the context of expatriation - challenging data access, global sample dispersion, restricted manipulability of variables, and cultural boundedness - and provided strategies on how to overcome these challenges, based on studies included in the review as well as taken ideas from neighboring fields (e.g., cross-cultural psychology). The paper concludes with a discussion of the state of the field and the wealth of strategies uncovered to successfully conduct experimental studies on expatriation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2019
Event2019 Academy of Management Annual Meeting -
Duration: 8 Aug 201913 Aug 2019


Conference2019 Academy of Management Annual Meeting


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