Searching for the qualities of an ideal expatriate has been at the forefront for academics and practitioners for several decades now. At first, most of the attention was paid to personal traits, finding that such stable characteristic as emotional stability, extroversion and openness to experience correlate with cross-cultural success. Today, interest in the field of cross-cultural people management has largely shifted from stable traits to dynamic competencies, implying that expatriation success can be enhanced through the development of emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence, and other social skills.
Does this trend suggest that ‘the ideal expatriate is developed rather than born’? Can we argue that the key to successful expatriation lies more in developing appropriate skills than in possessing favorable personality traits? Fact or Fiction – what do you think?