Will global mobility disappear in a (post-)Covid world? About a year ago I entertained the idea of a dystopian post-Coronavirus world, a version of an ’online’ world, where we would rather upgrade our ZOOM and Google Meets licences than book business trips and plan relocations… Luckily, such a scenario may remain fictional, because global mobility […]
Does the key to successful expatriation lie more in developing appropriate skills than in possessing favorable personality traits? A recent study by Shaffer and colleagues (2006) indicates that both stable personality traits and more dynamic cross-cultural competencies are important predictors of expatriate success.
Searching for the qualities of an ideal expatriate has been at the forefront for academics and practitioners for several decades now. Today, the attention in cross-cultural people management has shifted from stable personality traits to dynamic competencies, emphasizing the development of social skills. Does this trend suggest that ‘the ideal expatriate is developed rather than born’?
Referring to the workforce in general, the ‘Boomers’ ‘Xers’ and ‘Ys’ are familiar terms that reflect popular beliefs of significant differences among employee generations. However, contrary to the popular press, scholarly publications tend to discard such generational stereotyping. Yet, what about expatriates?
The existence of generational differences with regard to various aspects of life has been debated for many years. Likewise, in terms of the workforce, it has been common to distinguish between Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Relating this discussion to the expatriate population, it is interesting to consider whether there are significant differences across expat generations. What do you think?
Whether expatriates do not feel ‘at home’ in the host country and refer to their country of origin as their home can be true for some expats and false for others, as it depends on many factors. However, the notion that expatriates overall lose a feeling of home and become ‘placeless’ needs to be contested.
Take a look at some evidence.
Going on an assignment makes an expatriate leave behind most of the belongings; to some extent detaches from personal relationships; and settles into a new culture and society. Adjusting to these changes and converting the new reality into a new home is probably very difficult and time consuming. Hence, do the highly mobile expatriates attach any sense of home to the different places they travel to?
The statement that expatriates have less work-life balance abroad than at home is a Fact. Expatriate survey findings indicate that expatriates spend longer hours at work than they do in their home countries, working on average 13.4 hours per week more.
Moving abroad and becoming an expatriate pulls one out of his/her daily routines and the established work-life balance at home. As a result, we would assume that expatriates have less work-life balance abroad than in their home country.
Fact or Fiction?
The statement that self-initiated expatriates are happier while staying abroad than company-initiated expatriates is not a fact. Although there is no clear evidence for one group’s higher well-being over the other, there is enough evidence for differences between self-initiated and company-initiated expatriates.
Although the term expatriation is traditionally used for international assignments initiated by the employing company, there are a lot of so-called self-initiated expatriates as well. One may argue that self-initiated expatriates will be happier while staying abroad than company-initiated expatriates.
Fact or Fiction?
The statement that living abroad makes you more creative is a fact. Being abroad does not make you create an artwork masterpiece, but under certain conditions, such as living, not just traveling abroad, and thorough integration into the local lifestyle and community, it may increase your creative performance and creative thinking within everyday life situations.
Moving abroad is a life-changing experience. In a foreign country people face new challenges, get introduced to a new culture, meet new people and, most importantly, learn. This is a time for new ideas, thoughts and approaches, and therefore we would assume that living abroad makes you more creative.
Fact or Fiction? Have a look at some evidence.
Previous international experience facilitates an expatriate’s adjustment to a new country.
Fact or Fiction?
Please see the evidence…
The gender distribution in the population of international assignees is not equal, with men taking a larger share of assignments than women. Fact or Fiction?
Have a look at the evidence.
Company support at the outset of the assignment is much more important than when completing the assignment and returning home.
Fact or Fiction?
Have a look at the evidence..