International Careers: From
Economic to Lifestyle Migration.
Irish Business & Society. Governing, Participating & Transforming in the 21st Century.
Gill & Macmillan Dublin, Ireland .
While many chapters in this book examine Ireland-specific research, reports and
literature pertaining to contemporary Irish business and society, this chapter takes
a different approach. It explores the contemporary career influences and
preferences of highly educated knowledge professionals in Europe (Crowley-Henry
2008a), and considers the implications for present and future Irish business and
society in the post-Celtic Tiger era. The concept of international careers in
modern-day society is studied from a critical and individual, rather than a
managerialist or policy, perspective. It investigates what ‘career’ means to people
in the twenty-first century and suggests the ramifications of this for human
While large proportions of Ireland’s and other countries’ populations have
emigrated for economic, employment, or pure survival reasons (Scally 1995;
Schrier 1958; Thomas and Znaniecki 1996), findings from the study shared in this
chapter consider a trend towards lifestyle migration (Crowley-Henry 2008a;
Heffernan 2008; Schein 1990). There has been a noticeable shift from the mass
emigration evident in the Europe of the past, to which Ireland was a very large
contributor, to today’s situation, in which highly qualified specialists are
increasingly proactive in seeking out new markets for their individual professional
and personal development (Heffernan 2008; Vandamme 2000; Yan et al. 2002).
The research shared here explores an elite category of international assignees
termed ‘bounded transnationals’ (Crowley-Henry 2009a), whose primary concern
is the quality of life/lifestyle on offer in a particular host country environment,
rather than a focus on objective career success.
Based on primary, qualitative, exploratory research, concerning a sample of
bounded transnationals in the south of France (2002–2005), a career framework is
presented that was induced from the findings, and delineates the relational,
individual and economical influences on career preference and choice. While the
study concerns a geographical case study in the south of France, the findings are
discussed in light of the Irish situation: from the perspective of immigrants to
Ireland and the modern-day emigrants from Ireland. The findings emphasise the
requirement for organisations’ human resource practitioners to develop human
resource management strategies that open up and elaborate career management
and planning beyond extrinsic elements.
The initial sections present the relevant literature from international human
resource management and career theory. Next, the research methodology of the
study is outlined briefly (for a more detailed discussion see Crowley-Henry 2009b).
Then core findings are considered in light of the Irish situation. Finally,
recommendations and suggestions for further research are expounded.
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