Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the relative most important antecedent factors related to success in international assignment (IA) in specific context such as Peru. It reviews the full range of individual, organizational and contextual factors associated with success in IA as well as discusses the importance of context in expatriate research. Combined with limited interviews, synthesis is offered and the most relevant determinant factors are identified. Design/methodology/approach – This is a qualitative approach based on semi-structured interviews with 45 participants who currently hold IA positions or have broad experience in overseas positions. The interviews were conducted in the English and Spanish languages. A priori coding system classification technique based on a content analysis methodology was administrated for the purpose of analyzing and codifying the interviews. Findings – The findings reveal that a combination of individual, organizational and contextual antecedent factors are relevant for explaining success in IA. However, only nine of the 32 factors were found to be the most determinant to success. In particular, cross-cultural competencies, spouse adjustment, motivational issues, time on assignment, emotional competencies, previous international experience, language fluency and social relational skills, as well as contextual cultural differences and organizational recruitment and selection practices, were found to be the most associated to success in IA. The relative importance of the antecedents are discussed related to the context. Research limitations/implications – Because of the nature of qualitative design, a single factor may affect the interpretation and generalization of the findings. In addition, the ample and broad conceptualizations and definitions of the antecedent factors examined from different viewpoints may cause theoretical overlapping and cross-over definition biases, which may result in misleading findings. Therefore, the authors encourage future research to continue examining the full range of antecedent factors employing different methodological approaches by integrating context in a more systematic manner. Practical implications – The paper reviews the implications for IA selection design and process implementation, cross-cultural training and development. Originality/value – To begin with, this paper fills a need to study the antecedents of IA success and determine their relevance. In particular, and to the best of the knowledge, this is one of the few studies that include multi-level perspective: individual, organizational and contextual factors. This comprehensive approach aids in better understanding of the role and relevance of the respective antecedent factors that leads to success in IA with an aim to integrate context in the equation. Second, the sample consists of expatriates in particularly in Peru which gives information about adjustment of expatriates in Peru.
- International assignment success