International employee identity structure and context, and impact on turnover intent

Zhi Wang, Xiaoqian Yie, Stuart Horsburgh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Prior research by drawing from social exchange theory argues that reciprocity is inevitable as organizational support enables employee affective commitment. We content that reciprocity is neither axiomatic, nor inevitable. Rather, it is situation-dependent. What we observe are international employees in the MNCs’ environment therein reciprocity is shaped and enforced by the rapidly changing and adaptive social-psychological norms. Hence, we develop an integrated approach to reciprocity by examining adaption and cooperation, in relation to turnover intent in the expatriation and repatriation cycle. Draw on data from a sample of 150 recent returnees at Chinese MNCs, we find that reciprocity emerges from international employees’ adaption mechanisms, especially, their ‘adaption- biased norms’, leading to ‘cultural intelligence’. Cultural intelligence with greater exposure to culturally variant groups strengthens adaption conformity, ‘psychological contract’, and moderates turnover intents onsite of both expatriation and repatriation. Thereby social norms and organizational support enact international sojourners seeking out absorbing successful practices in the MNC’s environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Academy of International Business 2015
EditorsRam Mudambi, Tunga Kiyak
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherAcademy of International Business
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2015


  • adaptation and reciprocity
  • international employee turnover intent
  • cultural transmission
  • cultural intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'International employee identity structure and context, and impact on turnover intent'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this