International career motives, repatriation and career success of Indian women in science & technology

Reimira Valk, E.G. van der Velde, M.L. van Engen, R. Godbole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to gain insight into international career motives, repatriation and career success of Indian women in Science and Technology.
In total, 30 semi-structured interviews were conducted with (upper) middle-class Indian women in Science and Technology in Bangalore and New Delhi, India.
Thematic analysis resulted in four themes – International career motives, Theme 1: cross-cultural and scientific exposure; Repatriation reasons and experiences, Theme 2: family reunion, career prospects and readjustment; Career success, Theme 3: international experience; and career growth, Theme 4: social responsibility. Motives for international career mobility of Indian women were: exposure to foreign cultures, international collaboration in science and personal and professional development. Family formation and reunion and career prospects were reasons for repatriation and positively influenced repatriation experiences of Indian women. Readjustment to people and conditions in India impacted their repatriation experiences negatively. The meaning women attribute to career success is grounded in recognition from peers in science, career growth, satisfaction and contribution to science and Indian society.
Research limitations/implications
The sample of Indian female scientists may limit generalization of the findings to global career professionals in other professions from other countries with different socio-cultural and economic contexts.
Practical implications
HR policies that foster international careers of women scientists as well as women's networks in science to share and apply knowledge, and their contribution to the Indian economy and society will enhance global career success of women and strengthen the sustainable competitive position of organizations.
The study provides new insights into motivation for international career mobility and repatriation of women professionals from a developing country and their career success in the home country, and contributes to the development of theoretical frameworks on international career mobility and career success.
Keywords: Career success, Repatriation, Indian women, International careers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-233
JournalJournal of Global Mobility-The Home of Expatriate Management Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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