Factors Influencing Cross-Cultural Adjustment: Swedish Expatriates in East Asia Pacific

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Företagsekonomi; Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Background: Today the world is getting more globalized, which has led to multinational companies sending out expatriates on foreign assignments. Mostly expatriates’ responsibilities are to transfer knowledge from the headquarters to the subsidiary and to improve the communication between the headquarters and the subsidiary. Expatriate assignments have a high failure rate and are costly. Nordic companies are sending out a growing number of expatriates today. Furthermore, Swedish people are argued to be comfortable acting in a global context. Problem: When the expatriate moves to a new country, it is crucial for him or her to adjust in order for the expatriate assignment to become successful. Good expatriate adjustment is likely to lead to completing the assignment as well as performing well during the assignment. Existing research in the field states that there is need for more research about expatriate adjustment. Furthermore, few researches have been conducted about Swedish expatriates, and research conducted about expatriates from other nations might not apply to Swedish expatriates. Purpose: Considering the increased globalization and the growing number of expatriates, along with the research gap and the complex adjustment process, the purpose of this thesis is to examine which factors influence the adjustment process of Swedish expatriates going to East Asia Pacific. Method: Exploratory research was used to explore the factors influencing the adjustment process of Swedish expatriates who went to East Asia Pacific. With an abductive approach deeper knowledge about the adjustment process was gained. Empirical data was collected through a qualitative research consisting of eight in-depth interviews, which was analyzed by making use of qualitative content analysis method. Conclusion: The major conclusion of this research is that factors influencing Swedish expatriates’ work, general, and interaction adjustment in East Asia Pacific are cross-cultural training, language ability, adjustment of the spouse, and role clarity.

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