International Assignments : An updated picture of important factors for expatriate spouse adjustment

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen; Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen


Although several scholars have argued that the spouses failure to adjust is one of the main reasons expatriate employees return prematurely from international assignments, research about spouse adjustment is scarce, and existing research about the phenomenon was conducted almost two decades ago. Therefore, our research was conducted in order to empirically examine theoretical variables that historically relate to host country adjustment of the spouse in order to see if these variables are still valid today. The present study focused on personality, family characteristics and anticipatory and in-country adjustment variables of the intercultural adjustment of expatriate spouses. Among a sample of 105 expatriate spouses it was shown that the variables measuring time in host-country, positive pre-move opinion held by the spouse, living conditions at least equal to home, cultural novelty, personality traits, and family cohesion were significant moderators of the adjustment to the new country of the spouse. We could also show that the adjustment of the spouse affects the adjustment of the expatriate, thus increasing the relevance for companies to aim more attention to the spouse well-being. An area for future research could be to investigate more closely if there is different effectiveness of different types of training.

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