The topic of international assignments is rarely discussed without mentioning issues of the accompanying partners, or so-called trailing spouses. According to different industry surveys (e.g. Brookfield, 2012; Cartus, 2012) the adjustment problems and dissatisfaction of spouses/partners, as well as dual-career issues, top the lists of expatriation challenges, and quite often become reasons for refusing an […]
Traditional gender roles imply a scenario in which the male partner is employed and fulfills the task of a breadwinner in the family, while the female is in charge of raising kids and upholding the household. Although female work empowerment made their traditional role description quite faded today, the role attitudes and expectations of many people towards the male role have not changed much. The recent study by Nina Cole (2012) looks into the ‘unique’ role of males as expatriate accompanying partners.
A recent expatriate study by Finnish scholars Mäkelä, Känsälä and Suutari (2011) looked into the partner roles of expatriates and identified six different types, namely “supporting”, “ﬂexible”, “determining”, “restricting”, “instrumental”, and “equal partner” roles.
About 80% of expatriates are accompanied by their partners during the assignment. Usually partners give up their jobs and go through their own relocation challenges, which naturally inlfuence also the assignee. However, despite these ‘extra’ problems for the expatriate him/herself, the majority still prefers to relocate with their partner. Why so?