Research Handbook of Expatriates
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Research Handbook of Expatriates

Edited by Yvonne McNulty and Jan Selmer

The Research Handbook of Expatriates is a comprehensive and carefully designed collection of contributions that provides a nuanced discussion of expatriates and important insights into emerging areas of research. The first of its kind, the Research Handbook includes detailed examinations of the various types of business expatriates including LGBT, self-initiated expatriates, female assignees, and inpatriates, as well as expatriates in diverse communities such as education, military, missionary, sports and ‘Aidland’. Other themes include expatriate performance, adjustment, expatriates to and from developing countries, global talent management, and expatriates’ safety and security. With solid theoretical foundations and essays from the most distinguished academics in the field, the Research Handbook is a ground-breaking must-read for scholars and consultants in the field of expatriation, international management, global HR and business administration.
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Chapter 4: Expatriate adjustment

Thomas Hippler, Arno Haslberger and Chris Brewster

Abstract

This chapter argues for a reassessment of how we conceive of and study expatriate adjustment. We provide an overview of the theories and models of adjustment that have informed our thinking and offer an alternative model encompassing the dimensions, domains and dynamics of adjustment. We put a particular emphasis on the discussion of the antecedents and consequences of adjustment and the challenges we face when studying these relationships. We trace some of the inconsistencies and gaps in our body of knowledge to a lack of replications, a lack of attention to context and a lack of acknowledgement of the true complexity of these relationships. With regard to the consequences of expatriate adjustment we address the meaning of success in expatriate assignments and from whose point of view is it should be assessed and over what time scale. We raise questions about the meaning of adjustment and its contribution to such success. We argue that the research on expatriate adjustment to date has significantly enhanced our understanding with benefits for expatriates and others involved in the process, but that we may now need to reassess our current state of knowledge and adopt different research strategies if we are to extend our knowledge further and offer clearer guidelines and support.

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