Acculturation Processes and Expatriate Behavior

Acculturation Processes and Expatriate Behavior

Laurie Watts (Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden) and Beata Gullberg (Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6603-0.ch017
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Abstract

Understanding the expatriate's acculturation process (i.e. a process of learning and acquiring workplace-related skills to successfully inhabit a foreign cultural realm) is essential in an increasingly international labour market. By using a mixed-methods approach, measuring Work Locus Of Control (WLOC), acculturation strategies, and socio-cultural adaptation by quantitative data, the authors pursue that ambition. They apply phenomenographic method and interpret the results using Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). Results show that WLOC and choice of acculturation strategy affect the acculturation process. Expatriates view acculturation in terms of intertwined relationships. This study contributes to expanded knowledge on the acculturation process on the role of work in expatriate acculturation.
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Problem And Purpose

When moving to a new country and encountering a new culture, expatriates go through a process of socialisation called acculturation. Some individuals harbour personality traits which enable for them to cope better than others with a change in their private and working life environment. But what exactly is the impact of those specific traits? There is a need to study the influence of Work locus of control (WLOC) related to individual acculturation strategies and sociocultural adaptation. There is another need to study the subjective experience of the acculturation process. In order to understand the acculturation process, we examine connections between successful acculturation, work locus of control, acculturation strategies and the working expatriates’ experiences of the process.

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