Intrinsic motivation for an international assignment
Victor Y. Haines III
Purpose – This study aims to explore how the motivational construct of intrinsic motivation for an international assignment relates to variables of interest in international expatriation research. Design/methodology/approach – Questionnaire data from 331 employed business school alumni of a high-ranking Canadian MBA program was analyzed. The sample consisted of respondents from a wide variety of industries and occupations, with more than half of them in marketing, administration or engineering. Findings – Higher intrinsic motivation for an international assignment was associated with greater willingness to accept an international assignment and to communicate in a foreign language. Externally driven motivation for an international assignment was associated with perceiving more difficulties associated with an international assignment. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for an international assignment were, however, associated with comparable reactions to organizational support. Originality/value – Drawing from self-determination theory, this study explores the distinction between authentic versus externally controlled motivations for an international assignment. It underscores the need to pay more attention to motivational constructs in selecting, coaching, and training individuals for international expatriation assignments. It extends a rich tradition of research in the area of motivation to the international assignment arena.
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