A narratives’ exploration of non-traditional international assignees locally resident and employed in the South of France
Document Type Conference Paper
4th International Workshop on Expatriation, EIASM, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain), 23 & 24 OCTOBER, 2008 http://www.eiasm.org/frontoffice/event_announcement.asp?event_id=599
Contemporary publications in international human resource management call for the pluralisation of international assignees beyond the widely described expatriate. This paper presents an under-explored category of international assignees: highly educated, non French, Western (first world) individuals who reside indefinitely in the South of France, maintaining their professional careers while resident in the host country. A sample of over thirty individuals meeting these criteria was interviewed in France in depth over a three year period. These individuals are not migrants as by their own descriptions they consider migrants to have to move internationally (economic migrants) while their decisions to move to and remain in the South of France are extra-economically and more lifestyle anchor related. Rather, they would describe themselves as ‘an English-, Irish-, American- etc. man/woman living in France’. The narratives collected from the sample are analysed interpretivistically and inductively, with the focus of this paper on the identity construction of the sample as described by the sample’s narratives. In an era of globalisation and fragmentation, the paper explores the sample’s morphing identity. The term ‘morphing’ is synonymous with the protean career concept, the concept in career literature underlining the subjective career elements which impact on individuals’ career choices and directions. While the use of the protean career concept as an umbrella concept which captures the structural and agential forces influencing the identity reconstruction (morphing) of the sample in question has been critiqued, this paper argues that a development of the protean career concept is warranted taking international careers into consideration. It is this dimension – a development of the protean career concept in aiding understanding of international protean careers as lived experiences of the sample in question – which is at the centre of this paper’s thesis.