Retaining repatriates—the role of career derailment upon repatriation and how it can be mitigated

Anika Breitenmoser, Anna Katharina Bader*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study draws on relative deprivation theory to investigate the effect of career derailment upon return from an international assignment on repatriate retention, thereby also considering factors which can mitigate this relationship. The results from a hierarchical linear regression analysis of data from 292 repatriates indicate that career derailment upon repatriation decreases the former expatriates’ intent to stay. However, this effect is weaker when individuals perceived that they had promotion, autonomy and compensation advantages relative to colleagues who lack international assignment experience and when they were provided organizational repatriation support by their assigning organization. With these findings, this work lays the ground for strategies to improve the retention of former expatriates despite restricted career opportunities in the home organization. Thereby, it helps firms to realize the long-term benefits of international assignments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1509-1536
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number7
Early online date10 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • career derailment
  • organizational repatriation support
  • relative career advantage
  • relative deprivation theory
  • Repatriation
  • retention

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