Interpreting Dual Career Couples’ Family Life-Cycles: Identifying Strategic Windows of Global Career Opportunity

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Dual career families are more resistant to undertaking expatriate assignments primarily due to the difficulties associated with the trailing spouse not being able to find a job overseas and the potential net financial loss for the couple. As reported in other research, the failure of spouse or family to adjust is the number one reason for expatriate failure, therefore, a model for selecting expatriate candidates that accommodates the dual career family should help international human resource managers. This paper examines some of the particular gender and sociological issues surrounding the dual career expatriate couple, such as family and career Life-Cycles, to identify ‘strategic windows’ of opportunities for relocating expatriates overseas. Several selection methods based on self selection, such as accomplishment review, plus corresponding appraisals by management are proposed as an alternative to the present dual career couple dilemma. The significance of this research lies in the necessity for organisations to be primarily aware of rapidly changing recruiting environments and to be willing to undertake the changes allowing for greater effectiveness of HRM process in global environments.

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