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Title:The relationship between community and family factors and expatriate adjustment
Author(s):Kang, Hye-Seung
Director of Research:Kuchinke, K. Peter
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kuchinke, K. Peter
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Abelmann, Nancy A.; Korte, Russell F.; Huang, Wen-Hao
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Human Resource Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):expatriate adjustment
cultural novelty
early study abroad
spousal adjustment
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to explore to what extent the community and family factors such as spousal adjustment and children’s education are related to the international adjustment of expatriates, and to examine to what extent the demographic factors of expatriates are associated with these non-work factors and expatriate adjustment. This study followed the exploratory quantitative research approach, and data collection adopted a cross-sectional survey design which gathered information on a population from March of 2011 to October of 2010. The population in this study consists of Korean expatriates who have been sent overseas from Korean MNCs, as well as Korean expatriates who have been repatriated to Korea whose headquarters are located in Korea. The survey was completed by 120 Korean expatriates who work for American branches of three major Korean multinational corporations X, Y, and Z, purposely selected as the sample. The data was analyzed using stepwise multiple regressions in order to account for the correlations between various demographic variables and the variables of research interest and to avoid any effects due to the order of data entry. This study contributed to the field of the Human Resource Development by focusing on the following non-work factors. First, this topic focused on communities which have not been much studied in expatriate adjustment. Second, this topic focused on distinguishing different types of communities that facilitate expatriate adjustment. Finally, this study found that family factors, including spousal adjustment and children’s early education abroad have an important relationship with expatriate adjustment. The key findings of the current study indicated that cultural similarity had a significant positive relationship with overall adjustment, as well as all the subsidiary variables of expatriate adjustment. In other words, the less expatriates perceived cultural differences the more they felt adjusted. Cultural novelty was especially identified as having the most variance in host national interaction and the least in work adjustment. The results were consistent with many previous studies by suggesting that expatriate adjustment is more difficult when the host culture is more different or distant. Another finding is that spousal adjustment had the most significant relationship among all the independent variables with each of the subsidiary dimensions of expatriate adjustment. In particular, spousal adjustment had the strongest effect on the general environment of expatriates, followed by host national interaction, and finally, work adjustment. This finding was noteworthy in that it confirmed the findings of previous research and showed that the role of family was stable in changing times. Children’s early study abroad was confirmed as adding to the context of the adjustment of Korean expatriates who have foreign assignments in the United States. It is noteworthy that children’s schooling, social life, and English development were highly related to the general environment, interaction and work adjustment of expatriates. However, both the preference for children’s education in the United States and the intention to be expatriated for children’s education were not related to expatriate adjustment. A sense of community turned out to have little influence on expatriates’ adjustment in this study. The implications for research and the practice of HRD are included and future research and practice are also recommended.
Issue Date:2011-08-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Hye-Seung Kang
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-25
Date Deposited:2011-08

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