A “dramaturgical” analysis of spouse role enactment in expatriation: An exploratory gender comparative study in the diplomatic and consular field

TitleA “dramaturgical” analysis of spouse role enactment in expatriation: An exploratory gender comparative study in the diplomatic and consular field
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsDavoine, E, Ravasi, C, Salamin, X, Cudré-Mauroux, C
JournalJournal of Global Mobility
Volume1
Number1
Pagination92-112
Keywordsdual career couples, expatriate management, expatriate spouse, expatriates, gender analysis, male spouse, social roles, spouses
Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the social role played by expatriate spouses during international assignments, using a dramaturgical approach. Design/methodology/approach – Role expectations were investigated on the basis of an exemplary case: the spouses of diplomatic and consular employees of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Qualitative data were collected in interviews with 40 male and female spouses and analyzed with a “goffmanian” dramaturgical role analysis approach. Findings – The dramaturgical analysis of the accompanying persons’ discourse highlights the different dimensions of the expatriate spouse role and how expatriate spouses construct and personalize their role. Furthermore, this analysis brings new insights into the way male spouses may support female expatriates and reveals gender differences in the enactment of the expatriate spouse role. Research limitations/implications – This study has been carried out in the diplomatic sector, which might be more structured for the spouses in terms of role expectations than in multinational companies. Further research should be carried out to better understand these expectations in the context of multinational companies. Originality/value – The dramaturgical approach is a useful conceptual framework to explore the role enactment of the expatriate spouse, especially by considering the spouse role with a new distribution of gender roles. In this context, the role repertoire approach represents a promising field of investigation for research on expatriation and international mobility.

DOI10.1108/JGM-09-2012-0005
Refereed DesignationRefereed