Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Business Administration

First Advisor

Milorad Novicevic

Second Advisor

Paul Johnson

Third Advisor

Jeremy Meuser

Relational Format



The topic of this dissertation is turnover of self-initiated expatriates (SIEs). The significance of the SIE domain is evidenced by the exponential growth in SIE literature since the publication of the seminal research article authored by Inkson, Arthur, Pringle, and Barry (1997). Research in the SIE domain is also of interest to practitioners employed in multinational organizations who increasingly recognize that SIEs are an untapped source of global talent. To contribute to the SIE literature, in Essay One, of my three-essay dissertation, I first provide a systematic SIE literature review. Second, my unique contribution is a systematic review of the definitions used in past SIE studies through which I identified a complete set of definitional elements for SIEs. Third, I examine the evolution of these elements using the novel historic lexical constellation analysis to develop an integrated SIE definition. Fourth, I provide a synthesized model of the quantitative literature that pictorially represents the nomological network of the SIE phenomenon. Finally, I develop a theory-based typology of globally mobile workers and provide a roadmap for future research directions in the SIE domain. In Essay Two, I address the knowledge gaps identified in the nomological network described in Essay One to model the unexamined impact of servant leadership on SIE turnover that is mediated by SIE embeddedness. In Essay Three, I combine quantitative and qualitative approaches using the explanatory sequential mixed-method approach to study the organizational view of SIEs retention in multinational organizations, zooming in on the influence of SIE embeddedness and cross-cultural adjustment. The following are the unique and valuable contributions of my dissertation: 1) a systematic review of the SIE literature enriched with the development of an integrated SIE definition derived from the use of a novel method; 2) the development of a theory-based typology of globally mobile workers; 3) an empirical examination of the impact of servant leadership on SIE retention within a single multinational organization; 4) a mixed-method examination of SIE retention from the managerial perspective.

Available for download on Thursday, December 14, 2023