Managing Yopatriates: A longitudinal study of generation Y expatriates in an Indian Multi National Corporation
This paper provides a study of HRM practices for a new category of expatriates - "Yopatriates" - who we note as young, highly qualified and mobile, Generation Y (Gen Y) knowledge workers. In contrast to traditional expatriates, Yopatriates typify non-traditional forms of expatriation wherein they seek short-term international assignments to suit their individual (internal, rather than organisational or external) career orientations of learning and travel. We study this group using a case study analysis of a large Indian Multi National Corporation (MNC) delivering global information technology (IT) and business process offshoring (BPO) services. Our study presents the HRM practices adopted to manage both expatriates as well as Yopatriates at the case organisation being studied within an India setting. We further evaluate the extent to which internal HR practices of Yopatriates were characterised, by a desire to emulate or adopt what were regarded as global 'HR best practices'. Our distinctive contribution lies in extending the literature by developing a distinctive theoretical category of non-traditional expatriates that (1) highlights a need for a different set of HRM practices; and (2) extends the theory of cultural adjustment in the context of Yopatriates. Evidence suggests that these practices were complementary and at the same time contradictory to 'indigenous' localised practices during the period of research and complied with two of the four arguments we make in our model.