This article examines how the international mobility of corporate
professionals is entwined with the rise of the knowledge economy within a
‘flexible’ capitalist system. As telecommunication technologies transform the
economy, transnational organizations have been employing mobility strategies
that affect the work and life of highly-skilled professionals and their
families. Evidence is reviewed through a perspective of mobile labour studies,
assuming international professional mobility as a privileged site of analysis.
The article outlines the corporate expatriate population as the background for
comparing mobility practices and regimes adopted by conventional and
information-intensive industries. This comparison seeks to identify what is
specific and new about professional mobility in the knowledge economy. The
analysis confirms that patterns of mobility in information-intensive industries
are more dynamic, unstable and contingent - in a word, more “flexible” -
than those found in conventional or mature industries.