School of Business publications portal
This portal is no longer updated. Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc program in Management and International Business | 2015
Thesis number: 14264
Any volunteers to go? Attractiveness of international assignments in Russia and the Baltic countries among Finnish employees
Author: Haapala, Miika
Title: Any volunteers to go? Attractiveness of international assignments in Russia and the Baltic countries among Finnish employees
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc program in Management and International Business
Index terms: johtaminen; management; kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; ulkomailla työskentely; working abroad; Venäjä; Russia; Baltian maat; Baltic countries; asenteet; attitudes; työntekijät; workers; Suomi; Finland
Pages: 100
Key terms: International assignments; Expatriate assignments; Expatriates; Russia; Baltic countries; Estonia; Latvia; Lithuania
Objectives: International assignments and expatriates have been among the most popular themes of international HRM-literature for decades. However, the perspective of earlier expatriate literature is slightly narrow because instead of individuals' motives to go, studies are mainly focused on multinational corporations' assignment practices. There are also some studies about Finnish companies and expatriates in the field but even if Russia and the Baltic countries are really important market areas for several Finnish companies, research in these contexts hardly exists.

Because many companies have recently faced challenges in attracting the best possible professionals to international assignments, the objective of this study is to figure out from the employee's perspective, how the organizational, individual and location specific factors influence the perceptions of attractiveness of international assignments and willingness to work in Russia, Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. In addition, based on the empirical findings of the study, this thesis aims at offering some improvement ideas for the case company concerning how to increase the attractiveness of their international assignments as well as get the best possible assignees to work in their international subsidiaries.

Methodology: The earlier research on international assignments has been done mainly with large quantitative surveys but their reliability is sometimes questioned. Because of that, the research method of this study is a qualitative case study, which is executed by interviewing ten potential assignees from the case company during the Spring 2015. In addition to semi-structured interviews, another data sources were the historical data about career plans and earlier international assignments, and company documents. The three sources together form the triangulation of the data collection, which was analyzed with thematic analysis methods.

Findings of the study: The empirical findings of this thesis are mainly in line with earlier expatriate literature. The most influential factors to relocate, as expected, were factors related to the job, professional development and future career possibilities, while the family factors were the main reason to stay in Finland. However, the role of organization's assignment practices was relatively small because interviewees just expected them to be proper. Only the repatriation process aroused some concerns. Also the influence of the location specific factors that have been neglected in many studies, was evidently a really important factor in the decision-making process. The more familiar is the host location, the more attractive it is.

Based on these findings, finally some improvement ideas for the case company were presented. By developing communication, continuously improving the assignment practices but also taking the uniqueness of every case into account, they can surely increase the perception of attractiveness of international assignments in Russia and the Baltic countries.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.