Determinants of the Adjustment of Expatriate Managers to Foreign Countries : An Empirical Study

By Lee, Hung-Wen; Liu, Ching-Hsiang | International Journal of Management, June 2006 | Go to article overview

Determinants of the Adjustment of Expatriate Managers to Foreign Countries : An Empirical Study


Lee, Hung-Wen, Liu, Ching-Hsiang, International Journal of Management


A proposed model of expatriate adjustment to international assignments was developed. Results from a study of 53 Taiwanese banking expatriates in the United States support the model. The results highlight the important role of job satisfaction in expatriate adjustment. They extend previous findings by demonstrating that expatriates who are satisfied with their job in the host country are likely to adjust more effectively cross-culturally, that job satisfaction is a strong predictor of cross-cultural adjustment. They also point to the important role of organization socialization. This study found that organizational socialization in the host country was also an important predictor of cross-cultural adjustment. The results showed that adjustment was enhanced with greater job satisfaction and better socialization in the host country on the part of expatriate managers.

Introduction

Business has become increasingly international. One of the greatest challenges is how to manage human resources on a global scale. To be successfully implemented, global business strategic requires global human resource systems and globally competent people. The human resource personnel need to understand the multi faceted nature of their employees' identities and maximize the potential of each employee. Hence, an understanding of the identities and traditions of these persons becomes an imperative especially in the era of knowledge economy.

Enterprises can pursue business opportunities abroad in the current era of rapid globalization. Many multinational corporations (MNCs) constantly expand their businesses beyond their own national boundaries and plan increasing globalization. Expatriation represents the most expensive staffing strategy for the multinational corporation, but it remains a viable method for increasing the corporation's understanding of international operations. While organizations may perceive expatriation as an attractive method for accumulating foreign markets, they face the challenges of selection and management of the most appropriate individuals. Thus factors contributing to the successful expatriation experience are significant to MNCs.

Statement of the Problem

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, corporations and other organizations increasingly are turning to globalization as a strategy for strengthening their market shares and profits. Success in this effort requires an adequate number of expatriate employees who can implement the organization's strategies in a particular host country.

As more corporations expand internationally, demand for competent expatriate employees continues to increase (Gregersen, Black, & Morrison, 1998).The international movement of human resources has generated the development of research that targets the adjustment of expatriates in foreign cultures. However, previous research has been developed, but information on Taiwanese who are preparing for oversea assignments was rare and needed.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research focused on examining the relationship between independent variables (job satisfaction, family support, learning orientation, organizational socialization, and cross-cultural training) and the dependent variable (cross-cultural adjustment) in a proposed model of cross-cultural adjustment. This study was unique because it dealt specifically with Taiwanese expatriates.

Research Questions

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between particular independent variables and the dependent variable. Specifically, the research questions was included: Does the proposed model well predict the cross-cultural adjustment of Taiwanese expatriates?

Definitions

Multinational Corporation (MNC)

According to Root (1994), an MNC is a parent company that engages in foreign production through its affiliates located in several countries, exercises direct control over the policies of its affiliates, and implements business strategies in production, marketing, finance and staffing that transcend national boundaries.

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Determinants of the Adjustment of Expatriate Managers to Foreign Countries : An Empirical Study
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