About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6-15
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1001

Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain

MAKING SENSE OF SELF-INITIATED EXPATRIATE ACADEMIC CAREERS IN JAPAN

S.L. Birchley

Toyo Gakuen University (JAPAN)
This research explores the lived-experiences of Self-Initiated Expatriate Academics in Japan. Self-initiated expatriates (Inkson et al., (1997), Suutari & Brewster (2000) differ from assigned expatriates as they seek out work overseas by their own initiative. In a variety of fields, this can be a result of limited career possibilities at home, the need for international travel or family commitments (Doherty et al., (2011), Richardson & Mallon (2005), Tharenou and Caulfield, 2010). Much research has been conducted on self-initiated expatriates in the business world, yet, understanding the motivations and experiences of self-initiated expatriate academics (SIEAs) working in higher education (HE) is still an under-researched field (Doherty,2010). The forces of internationalization have resulted in a growing number of academics seeking opportunities to teach and research overseas. These SIEAs have many skills to offer their new local environment as they often possess strong intercultural skills and knowledge that could be very valuable to their institution. In the case of Japan, the government is striving to internationalize university campuses, with initiatives such as the Global 30 project, Super Global Universities and prominence on the development of Global Jinzai (global human resources). Although foreign-born faculty make up approximately only 5% of the HE workforce, as a result of the new policies, there are an increasing number of opportunities for SIEAs who seek work in Japan.

Taking an interpretative approach, this research draws on the work of Weick (1995) and sensemaking. Using sensemaking as a theoretical framework, and narrative as a research methodology, this research helps to understand the participants interpretation of their lived experiences as SIEAs. Sensemaking is inherently social but is linked to processes of individual identity creation and maintenance. SIEAs go through various processes of identity formation and development while working overseas and their motivations to work in a foreign environment interplay with their perceptions of how others view them.

This research initially set out to explore the push and pull factors for SIEA in Japan, but expanded to include the level of job satisfaction among these workers, their perceived marketability both inside and outside Japan and the career landscape of an academic in Japan. Based on in-depth narratives of twenty SIEAs working in Japanese higher education institutions, the subjects revealed the social, political, economic, and emotional rationales behind their decision to build a career outside their home country, how they perceive themselves and how they believe others perceive them, in their new academic home.

This research has implications for the management of global human resources in academia, particularly in terms of internationalizing the academic environment and the career development of a SIEA.
@InProceedings{BIRCHLEY2016MAK,
author = {Birchley, S.L.},
title = {MAKING SENSE OF SELF-INITIATED EXPATRIATE ACADEMIC CAREERS IN JAPAN},
series = {10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-5617-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2016.1001},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2016.1001},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {6-15}}
TY - CONF
AU - S.L. Birchley
TI - MAKING SENSE OF SELF-INITIATED EXPATRIATE ACADEMIC CAREERS IN JAPAN
SN - 978-84-608-5617-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2016.1001
PY - 2016
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2016
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2016 Proceedings
SP - 6
EP - 15
ER -
S.L. Birchley (2016) MAKING SENSE OF SELF-INITIATED EXPATRIATE ACADEMIC CAREERS IN JAPAN, INTED2016 Proceedings, pp. 6-15.
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