Original Research

Repatriation turnover revisited: A focus on South African multinational enterprises

Christiaan J. Naude, A. Johan Vogel
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 21, No 1 | a1680 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v21i1.1680 | © 2018 Christiaan J. Naude, A. Johan Vogel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 October 2016 | Published: 19 April 2018

About the author(s)

Christiaan J. Naude, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
A. Johan Vogel, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The topic of repatriation turnover as a major source of concern for repatriates and their multinational enterprise has been covered extensively in the literature over the years, with the literature showing that between 15% and 38% of repatriated expatriates leave the employment of their multinational enterprise within the first year after repatriation. However, no such study has focused on the repatriation of South African expatriates.

 

Aim: The primary aim of this study was to determine if there is a correlation between the repatriation practices of South African multinational enterprises and their repatriation turnover rates. The secondary aim of the study was to determine why repatriated employees leave the employment of South African multinational enterprises.

 

Method: This quantitative study surveyed 41 expatriate managers of South African multinational enterprises, with the Mann-Whitney U test and Spearman’s correlation coefficient being used to test for correlations between the repatriation practices of South African multinational enterprises and their repatriation turnover rates.

 

Results: The results revealed positive correlations between appointing a mentor to an expatriate to assist with the repatriation process, conducting an orientation programme prior to repatriation and supporting the expatriate with various initiatives during repatriation and lower repatriation turnover rates. Meanwhile a negative correlation was found between when a multinational enterprise starts with an orientation programme prior to repatriation and repatriation turnover rates.

 

Conclusion: These findings provide valuable insights for South African multinational enterprises into practices they can employ to reduce their repatriation turnover rates.


Keywords

repatriation; repatriate; repatriation failure; international assignments; South Africa

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