Expatriate work role engagement and the work–family interface: A conditional crossover and spillover perspective

B. Sebastian Reiche*, Mihaela Dimitrova, Mina Westman, Shoshi Chen, Olivier Wurtz, Mila Lazarova, Margaret A. Shaffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

How intertwined are expatriates with their families? And what makes some expatriates better than others at leveraging positive or compensating for negative influences from their family life? Drawing on conservation of resources, crossover and spillover theories, we examine when partner family role adjustment influences expatriates’ family experiences, and how and when these experiences translate into expatriate work role engagement. Using data from 105 expatriate–partner dyads at two time points, we establish the key personal resource of general self-efficacy as a boundary condition for crossover and spillover. We find that expatriates with high self-efficacy experience no crossover between partner family role adjustment and expatriate family role adjustment, and positive spillover between their family role engagement and their work role engagement. By contrast, expatriates with low self-efficacy experience strong crossover between partner family role adjustment and expatriate family role adjustment, and negative spillover between their family role engagement and work role engagement. Our results suggest that the way in which the family domain influences expatriate work role engagement depends on general self-efficacy. We contribute to conservation of resources, crossover and spillover theories, and the work–family interface during expatriation. Our results also pinpoint organizational interventions to improve expatriates’ work role engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-482
Number of pages31
JournalHuman Relations
Volume76
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Bi-national Science Foundation2009106
Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y UniversidadesMICINN-ECO2012-33544
Canada Research Chairs
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación

    Keywords

    • conservation of resources theory
    • crossover
    • expatriates
    • family role adjustment
    • family role engagement
    • general self-efficacy
    • spillover
    • work engagement

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