The positive effects of a protean career attitude for self-initiated expatriates: Cultural adjustment as a mediator

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Purpose – The authors sought to explain why and how protean career attitude might influence self-initiated expatriates’ (SIEs) experiences positively. A mediation model of cultural adjustment was proposed and empirically evaluated.
Design/methodology/approach – Data from 132 SIEs in Germany containing measures of protean career attitude, cultural adjustment, career satisfaction, life satisfaction, and intention to stay in the host country were analysed using path analysis with a bootstrap method.
Findings – Empirical results provide support for the authors’ proposed model: the positive relations between protean career attitude and the three expatriation outcomes (career satisfaction, life satisfaction and intention to stay in the host country) were mediated by positive cross-cultural adjustment of SIEs.
Research limitations/implications – All data were cross-sectional from a single source. The sample size was small and included a large portion of Chinese participants. The study should be replicated with samples in other destination countries, and longitudinal research is suggested.
Practical implications – By fostering both a protean career attitude in skilled SIE employees and their cultural adjustment, corporations and receiving countries could be able to retain this international workforce better in times of talent shortage.
Originality/value – This study contributes to the scarce research on the conceptual relatedness of protean career attitude and SIEs, as well as to acknowledging the cultural diversity of the SIE population.
Translated title of the contributionDie posititven Effekte einer proteischen Karriereeinstellung für selbst-initiierte Auslandsmitarbeiter: Kulturelle Anpassung als Mediator
Original languageEnglish
JournalCareer Development International
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)56-77
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2013

    Research areas

  • Management studies - Career satisfaction, Cultural adjustment, Cultural distance, Expatriates, Intention to stay, International mobility, Protean career, Self-initiated expatriation
  • Business psychology