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Altman

In: Business and Management

Submitted By niansi
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WOMEN AND INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENTS: TAKING STOCK— A 25-YEAR REVIEW

Y O C H A N A N A LT M A N A N D S U S A N S H O R T L A N D
Women’s progress into management and, more specifically, into the world of expatriates, is the subject of this review. Despite advances in equal opportunities legislation, women failed to embark on expatriate missions in significant numbers during the 1980s. In the 1990s, more women were offered international assignment opportunities but they remained a negligible minority compared to men. The first decade of the twenty-first century has witnessed a gradual increase in the number and visibility of women in international assignments. Through a comprehensive review of the literature over the period from 1980 to now, this article charts the emerging themes and changes in the tone of discourse: from when organizations were debating whether to “give women a chance” through attempts to identify and remove “blockages” to women’s progress to, most recently, structural changes in the expatriate assignment and claims for women’s superior affinity to operating internationally. We highlight gaps in the current literature and propose a platform for future research. We conclude with recommendations for practice. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Introduction

T

he last two decades of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first saw a significant rise in cross-border international business activity, driven by globalization and the domination of multinational corporations (MNCs): of the 100 largest economies in the world, some 30 are MNCs (Frenkel, 2006). International mobility has emerged in that context as a key competitive differentia-

tor of organizational success in the global economy. Women’s international careers thus become a natural focus of attention for scholars and practitioners alike. This article contributes to...

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