Doctoral student writing

Identity Work & Global Commuters

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2018
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


Research to-date has tended to focus on expatriate work, with relatively little attention paid to other forms of global mobility (Howe-Walsh and Schyns, 2010). Global mobility can be defined as; ‘movements of people across international borders for any length of time for work-related purposes’ (Koslowski, 2011: preface). Due to mortgage concerns, family ties and dual career commitments, there has been an increasing number of employees declining such opportunities (Froese, Jommersbach and Klautzsch 2013), leading employers to consider allowing alternative forms of mobility, such as global commuting.

Global or cross-border commuters are individuals who cross national borders to work in a different country on a daily, weekly (Dickmann and Baruch, 2011), or in some rarer cases monthly basis (Kirk, 2016). Working in such conditions of turbulence and flux within the workplace can create tensions and contradictions that highlight the ‘constructed quality of self-identity and compel more concentrated identity work’ (Alvesson and Willmott, 2002, p.626).   The impact of mobility on the identities of those involved in such careers has received little attention to date, with only limited studies focusing on expatriates and these approaching this largely from a functionalist perspective (see Habermas, 1972).

The project would be designed to explore the identity work engaged in by those who commute globally in their careers. There is little research in this field and as it is a growing area of global mobility, particularly within Europe and parts of the Asia-Pacific, this would fill a gap in the current body of knowledge.


Alvesson M and Willmott H (2002) Identity regulation as organizational control producing the appropriate individual. Journal of Management Studies 39: 619-644.
Dickmann, M. and Baruch, Y. (2011) Global careers. Oxon: Routledge.
Froese, F.J., Jommersbach, S. and Klautzsch, E. (2013) ‘Cosmopolitan career choices: a cross-cultural study of job candidates’ expatriation willingness’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management,
Habermas J (1973) Legitimation crisis. Boston: Beacon Press
Howe-Walsh, L. and Schyns, B. (2010) ‘Self-initiated expatriation: implications for HRM’. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21 (2), 260-273
Kirk, S. (2016 Career capital in Kaleidoscope Careers: The role of HRM, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2015.1042896


Dr Susan Kirk

Entry qualifications

An applicant for admission to read for a PhD should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a Master's degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. A research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) must be submitted as part of the application.

For more information please visit the NTU Doctoral School – Research Degrees webpages.

How to apply

How to apply

Applications are accepted all year round.

Download an application form here.
Please make sure you take a look at our application guidance notes before making your application.

Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

Fees and funding

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity.

Guidance and support

Further information on guidance and support can be found on this page.

Still need help?

Susan Kirk