This paper is in a special edition of the Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, within the International Human Resource Management (IHRM) field. It introduces, for the first time in IHRM research, the rapidly growing body of expatriate teachers in ‘international schools’. The IHRM literature is usually concerned with the corporate, or assigned, expatriate sent abroad to work for a multi-national company. However, this view is out-dated and in need of major refinement. There are now many groups of workers who have voluntarily sought to work abroad, in the globalized labour-market. The body of international school teachers is therefore presented as a neglected community of non-corporate expatriates, alongside other bodies of ‘new’ expatriates such as professional sports-people or English-language teachers.
This paper reveals to the ‘external’ i.e. non-education world, that the body of expatriate teachers in ‘international schools’ is growing rapidly, and is forecast to reach up to 800,000 by 2026, yet the literature still largely neglects their realities of every-day life as an expatriate. Recent figures estimate that 17,000 British teachers move abroad each year to teach in an international school. Simply put, teachers in international schools have escaped discussion as expatriates yet warrant much greater attention. They have many concerns and challenges that are not currently being fully addressed.
This paper presents a conceptual framework for identifying a possible reason for this neglect; the teachers in international schools can be viewed as ‘middling actors’, caught in a ‘middle space’ of the emergent ‘business expatriate’ concept, between the discussion about corporate expatriates and precariat workers. The emergent discussion about expatriates is attempting to move towards viewing a broad spectrum of actors, and teachers in international schools can be viewed as being somewhere in the middle. The concept of the ‘middling actor’ can be further developed, and international schools offer a rich area of research for expatriate researchers.
Full Reference: Tristan Bunnell (2017) "Teachers in international schools: a neglected ‘middling actor’ in expatriation", Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, Vol. 5 Issue: 2, doi: 10.1108/JGM-07-2016-0033