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Chinese international business graduates: A career dilemma: Repatriate or stay?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2015

Phyllis Tharenou
Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia


This paper examines the mobility paths taken by Chinese coursework graduates who studied abroad chiefly in business (Chinese ‘foreign’ graduates) and the consequences for their careers. A model is developed that focuses on the two major interconnected paths of repatriating and remaining abroad, and looks at the influence of pull–push forces. The model suggests the career consequences for repatriates, and their reactions to re-entry to China, in contrast to the career consequences for stayers and their reactions to the host country. The career capital the business graduates acquired while studying is developed. Adverse career consequences and reactions may lead to further mobility, including re-expatriation abroad by repatriates and repatriation by stayers. Overall, Chinese foreign business graduates may be caught in a dilemma when selecting the best path for their career and lifestyle. Implications for future research and management of Chinese foreign business graduates in host countries and China are assessed.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press and Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management 2015 

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