The topography of global mobility within multinational enterprises (MNEs) is evolving where we now have a portfolio of flexible global working arrangements (FGWAs) including: international business travellers, flexpatriates, short-term international assignees, international commuters, and rotational assignees. The need for more agile structures and more efficient mechanisms to transfer globally dispersed knowledge are two key enablers in this evolution. With increased interest, this paper offers the first systematic, integrative review of 100 articles on FGWAs. The review indicates that these forms of global work appear to be a somewhat overlooked double-edged sword in that they may confer significant but unrealised value for MNEs alongside hidden, adverse consequences for individuals. Notable was the lack of insight into the HR function’s input or oversight at either a strategic or operational level. We find that there is a distinct lack of strategic linkages to global mobility and/or HR functions. We propose a research agenda that centres on better understanding the international HR function’s role and responsibility in providing a more strategic and sustainable perspective of these increasingly common FGWAs alongside virtual work. The COVID-19 pandemic may offer a critical juncture point in which there is greater strategic consideration on the utilisation and support of such arrangements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management