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Career capital development of self-initiated expatriates in Qatar: cosmopolitan globetrotters, experts and outsiders

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jenny Rodriguez, Professor Tracy ScurryORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This paper explores career capital development of self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) in the Middle East, reporting on data gathered in Qatar from 20 in-depth semi-structured interviews. Findings challenge the notion that self-initiated expatriation always leads to career capital accumulation; arguing instead that contextual features impact individuals’ agentic efforts toward career capital accumulation and leads them to experience ‘career capital stagnation’. Qatarisation is the overarching influence on the status of SIEs in the country and places structural constraints which translate into limited organisational opportunities and support for SIEs. Individually, SIEs reside rhetorically within complex dualities characterised by feelings of cosmopolitanism and isolation. Whilst individuals narrate the context in utilitarian terms as a means to a broader aim of global experience, everyday practicalities of their work and life are problematised. Narratives of career capital development are organised in three themes: SIEs as cosmopolitan globetrotters (micro-individual level) SIEs as experts (meso-organisational level) and SIEs as outsiders (macro-country level). The paper contributes to broadening the discussion on the relationship between self-initiated expatriation and context, and its implications on careers. Empirically, it adds to our understanding of self-initiated expatriates, in particular their experiences of career capital development in the highly regulated context of the Middle East.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rodriguez JK, Scurry T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Human Resource Management

Year: 2014

Volume: 25

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 190-211

Print publication date: 11/07/2013

Date deposited: 16/06/2013

ISSN (print): 0958-5192

ISSN (electronic): 1466-4399

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2013.815254


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