Learning work-life balance: the experiences of self-initiated Korean expatriates in Sweden

University essay from Lunds universitet/Centrum för öst- och sydöstasienstudier

Abstract: This study focused on the experience of self-initiated Korean expatriated in Sweden. The purpose of this research was to examine and analyse the process of learning and adjustment to the new environment and specifically work-life balance. The theoretical framework was composed by cognitive adjustment theory and Berry’s acculturation model. The method that was used was qualitative research build on 9 semi-structured interviews. The data collected was coded and was analysed in accordance to the theoretical framework. The findings revealed differences in the experience of work-life balance between Korean and Swedish-/internationally-owned companies. Experiences in the Korean-owned companies were marked by lesser opportunity to learn ad initiate adjustment. In Swedish/Internationally-owned companies signals for the need for change were more present and the expatriates underwent an adjustment process to internalize the new cultural values and norms. The evidence outlined that in cases of conflict between the two cultural patterns, the expatriates used reinterpretation to create a hybrid of the two cultures. Finally, evidence suggests a high level of self-awareness and willingness to trade-off between the two cultures, which resulted in the successful integration of the expatriates.

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