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What sort of psychological problems are met by people who go to work

abroad? Pr

Introduction
 The world is becoming more globalized, more people working abroad
 The decreased cost of travel and ease of new settlement has meant a large
increase in the number of people working abroad.
 Torbiorn (1982) proposed three reasons for which individuals might be
sent abroad: to ensure that operations abroad go as planned and to secure
staff loyalty (control), to evaluate and transmit salient information
between company operations (contact/coordination), and to provide
technological and administrative services (know-how).
 Hence there is great interest in cross-cultural psychology, particularly
national and cultural differences in organization behaviour like styles of
leadership, negotiation, motivation, and reward allocation (Smith and
Bond, 1998)
 Whilst some people thrive, others are unable to adapt
 McDonald (1993) – 25-40% of expatriate managers failed in their
objectives
 Brewster (1991) – 20-50% of expatriates return early – “failure”
 This essay explores the potential problems people run into due to
working in a new culture
Who typically gets sent abroad?
 Older, married expatriates tend to be senior managers
 Younger, single managers tend to be technical specialists
P1 – Culture shock – the challenge of experiencing a new culture
 Going into a new culture can be difficult
 Oberg (1960) was the first to talk about culture shock and identified six
aspects of culture shock: strain, sense of loss, feelings of deprivation,
confusion, surprise/anxiety/disgust/indignation at cultural differences,
feelings of impotence at not being able to cope with the new environment
Why do people experience culture shock? (Furnham & Bochner, 1986)
 Loss and grief
 Locus of control/fatalism
 Social Darwinism
 Realistic expectations
 Number of negative life experiences
 Social support network
 Value differences
 Social skills of person dealing with culture
 Latter four have been found to be the best predictors
 Very little training to prevent these kinds of problems^
How many people does culture shock affect? Who does it affect?
 According to a survey by Right Management: 42% of overseas
assignments are judged to be failures by senior executives
 Lack of corporate support and family issues are the biggest reasons for
failure
How do people respond to culture shock?
 Bochner (1982) – response to new cultures
 Passing response, chauvinistic response, marginal response, mediating
approach
The U-curve – Lysgaard (1955)
 People go through three phases – initial adjustment, crisis, and regained
adjustment
 Implied that period of adjustment typically takes 20 months, with some
point between 6 and 18 months being the bottom of the U
 If one traces the sojourner’s level of adjustment, adaptation, and
wellbeing over time, a U-shape occurs, such that satisfaction and
wellbeing decline and then increase after the adjustment period
 Re-entry U curve can also occur when returning to the original culture
 Gaw (2000) looked at reverse culture shock in American students
returning home. Many felt alienated, lonely, depressed, and confused
 Bochner, Lin, and McLeod (1980) have shown that returning expatriates
anticipate that they will be subjected to contradictory social expectations
o In particular, think there will be ambivalence in the treatment they
will receive from professional, peer, family, and friend groups
o Rate of resolving may vary, and could account for an absence of a
W curve in some studies

What predicts whether someone will be able to cope?


 Zlobina et al (2006) – 11 predictor variables – length of residence, age,
gender, education, immigration status, expectations, plan of residence,
relationship with hosts, relationships with co-nationals, perceived
cultural distance, perceived discrimination
 Most powerful predictors: length of residence in new culture, immigration
status (being an “illegal” immigrant), and perceived discrimination
 Older, more experienced individuals tend to be better at coping with
geographical differences (Furnham & Bochner, 1986)
 Social relationships are more dependent for students than for
businessmen – businessmen more likely to be on equal footing with peers
(Furnham, 2010)
What predicts success?
 Caligiuri and Tarique (2008) – highly extraverted leaders with a greater
number of high-contact, cross-cultural leadership experiences proved to
be the best global leaders
o An individual’s personality and early life experiences (coming from
a diverse, new settler family) play a large part
o Those who had man different and intense personal, face-to-face
high-contact cultural experiences do best when working abroad
o Elenkov and Manev (2008) – noted that social skills are important
in the success of senior expatriate leaders – refer to this as social
and emotional intelligence – sensitivity and ability to manage
people’s beliefs, behaviours, and motivation – but it could be
argued that this is the case for all effective leaders.
 Hogan (2000) – “free-choice” new settlers seem more eager to assimilate
than those who are pushed to leave their native country by various
pressures
What predicts re-adjustment success?
 Vidal et al (2007) - factors predict readjustment after 2 months – self-
efficacy, autonomy, expectation accuracy, and social status. 2 factors
predicted readjustment after 9 months – self-efficacy and expectation
accuracy.
 Interestingly, repatriation has not been given as much attention in the
mobility literature as expatriation, despite it being clearly an important
issue (Bossard & Peterson, 2005)
P3 – The challenge of returning to the original country - repatriation

Can culture shock be prevented with the right training?
 Ward, Bochner, & Furnham (2001) – presented three theoretical
approaches to dealing with culture shock
 Culture learning perspective
 Stress, coping, and adjustment process
 Social identity and inter-group relations
 Pick the right people to go abroad
o Brett, Stroh, & Reilly (1993) – asked more than 800 American
corporate employees – the single biggest factor was spouse’s
willingness to move
 Puck, Kittler, & Wright (2008) – examined the impact of CCT (cross-
cultural training) on expatriate adjustment and focuses on variations in
participation, length, and the comprehensiveness of training. 339
expatriates from 20 German multinational corporations found that CCT
has little (if any) effects on general, interactional, or work-setting
expatriate adjustment. However, a significant impact of foreign language
competence was found for all three dimensions of expatriate adjustment.
Cross cultural training – aims to enhance the adjustment of expatriates by
developing individuals’ awareness of differences in appropriate norms
and behaviours between their home and host country. Many MNCs now
offer this pre-departure.
P4 – how might these problems be improved?

Conclusion
 The challenge of trying to adapt to the culture whilst simultaneously
acting in the best interests of the company (for businessmen who are sent
by a company) – culture shock does not make it easy
 Coming to a new country, working for a company in a new location with
new employees, combined with trying to adapt to the new culture whilst
maintaining the company’s best interest cannot be easy. Therefore, one f
the biggest things we can do is impose training programmes to make the
transition for employees as easy as possible.
Provide a critique of the concept “culture shock”

Introduction
 World becoming globalized, demand for expatriates higher than ever
(Bansal et al., 2012)
 Torbiorn (1982)  expatriates deployed for 3 reasons
 However, failure rate high (<40% fail objectives) (McDaniel et al., 1993)
 20-50% expatriates returning earlier than anticipated (Brewster, 1991)
 Concept of culture shock has been cited as a reason for failure (Furnham,
2005).
 This essay will provide a critique of culture shock: why individuals
experience it, the factors that predict whether they will successfully adapt
to it, and whether training to adapt to culture shock can improve
expatriate outcomes.
P1 – Why individuals experience it – reasons for culture shock
 Oberg (1960) was the first to talk about culture shock and identified six
aspects of culture shock: strain, sense of loss, feelings of deprivation,
confusion, surprise/anxiety/disgust/indignation at cultural differences,
feelings of impotence at not being able to cope with the new environment
 The U-curve – Lysgaard (1955) – adjustment, crisis, regained adjustment
 Experience can predict the type of curve
 Furnham & Bochner, 1986 – factors that explain culture shock.
Geographical and cultural distance did not affect adjustment in a study by
Puck et al (2008)
P2 – Factors that predict adaptation
 Zlobina et al (2006) – 11 predictor variables. Most powerful predictors:
length of residence in new culture, immigration status (being an “illegal”
immigrant), and perceived discrimination
 Older, more experienced individuals tend to be better at coping with
geographical differences (Furnham & Bochner, 1986)
 Success: Caligiuri and Tarique (2008) – highly extraverted leaders with a
greater number of high-contact, cross-cultural leadership experiences
proved to be the best global leaders
 Cultural intelligence? CQ = “an individual’s competence to function and
manage effectively in culturally diverse settings” (Ang & Van Dyne, 2008,
p. 3)
P3 – Does training improve expatriate outcomes?
 Moon, Choi, & Jung (2012) – comprehensiveness (rather than length) of
CCT training related to improvement, with mediating effect of CQ and
moderating effect of goal orientation. But CQ was measured using self
report
 Morris and Robie (2001) – meta-analysis provided mixed results,
suggested that the impact of CCT on expatriate adjustment might well be
overestimated
 Puck, Kittler, & Wright (2008) – impact of CCT minimal, though foreign
language yes. Interviewee: “challenges are way to extensive to be covered
by intercultural training – most things work best when learning by doing”
 Overall, there is much work needed to be done in the field of training to
adapt to settling in new cultures, and language is crucially important –
essential for communication
 MNCs often neglect the importance of language skills. Language can
provide insight into culture in a much more intuitive way – appreciates
the culture fully rather than just being told about it – learning the
language often requires speaking to natives anyway.
Conclusion
 The challenge of trying to adapt to the culture whilst simultaneously
acting in the best interests of the company (for businessmen who are sent
by a company) – culture shock does not make it easy. Lievens et al (2003):
“the selection of international managers is still intuitive and unsystematic
and often based solely on job knowledge and technical competence” (p.
476)
 Promising work suggests that the most important thing for companies to
do is focus on the individual – marital status, needs/wishes, and
personality, as well as focus on improving training methods.