Developing a Career Through Corporate Expatriation: A Study Using Semi-Structured Interviews in the Chinese Context


Based on a qualitative study of 31 Chinese corporate expatriates, this case study examines a range of methodological issues including the research design, conducting semi-structured interviews, and the analytical process using NVivo. Underpinned by the phenomenological paradigm, a qualitative methodology is presented as the appropriate approach to interpret narratives of human experience in intercultural contexts consistent with the research question. Associated research objectives are articulated and implementation of the chosen research methods and research design are discussed. Through interpretation of the rich description of Chinese corporate expatriates’ narrative accounts of their experiences, this case study aims to provide an insight into how to conduct a qualitative research to gain rich data that can help to understand the complexity of social interactions. Furthermore, in this case study, I share my experience of researching expatriation in the Chinese context and challenges that I have encountered during the process, as well as lessons that I have learned. Institutional, cultural, and personal factors are acknowledged as part of the important research design with an aim to gain trust with research participants.

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