Boundaryless or Traditional? Career Anchor Variations Among Company Assigned and Self-Initiated International Banking Expatriates

Published: 20-06-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/h2nzzdr6wk.1
Saeed Alshahrani


The purpose of this study is to explore the dominant career orientations of self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) relative to traditional company assigned expatriates (AEs). Employing quantitative methods using a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) approach, this study examines a data sample of 418 expatriates (344 SIEs and 74 AEs) working in the Saudi Arabian banking industry to test the variations in the career orientations they exhibit. I employ Schein’s (1990) career anchor model to identify whether traditional and/or boundaryless career orientations can be detected among a comparative sample of SIEs and AEs employed in the banking industry. My point of departure is that AEs and SIEs may differ in terms of their international career orientations given their distinct route trajectories in moving abroad to pursue either organizational and/or individual-managed careers (Bonache, Brewster, Suutari, & Cerdin, 2017; Suutari et al., 2018; Suutari, Brewster, & Tornikoski, 2013). The results for the two career constructs show a significant main effect with a statistically significant difference between AEs and SIEs for a traditional career and a boundaryless career. The results indicate that SIEs exhibit more traditional career anchors represented by technical/functional competence and security/stability than their AE counterparts. With these findings, this study contributes to the career literature in two ways: (a) by elucidating aspects relating to the distinct directions of organizational and individual-managed careers and by (b) adding to the existing expatriate career literature through exploring the differences and similarities between comparable AEs and SIEs using the career anchors model.