Edited by Yvonne McNulty and Jan Selmer
Chapter 23: Biculturals, monoculturals and Adult Third Culture Kids: individual differences in identities and outcomes
This chapter reviews literatures on different groups of individuals –Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCKs), monoculturals, and biculturals – in the context of working globally. As people work in and are exposed to new cultures in an increasingly global world, individual differences emerge in the ways in which these experiences become incorporated into the person – from belonging to and identifying with no culture, identifying with one culture, or identifying with two or more cultures. Drawing from psychological research and empirical work in the management literatures, this chapter first provides an overview of the complexities around defining identity in a global context among these groups. Individual differences in identity patterns and identity management strategies, in turn, have been linked to divergent outcomes. Focusing here on outcomes related to adjustment broadly defined, this chapter highlights in particular cultural adaptation as well as interpersonal relationships and behavioural (creativity and decision-making) consequences relevant in a global work context. Mediating the relationship between identity and these consequences, this chapter discusses the role of cognitive mechanisms identified in the literatures. This chapter thus aims to integrate findings across various literatures on these different groups of individuals to present an identity–processes–adjustment framework for understanding how individual differences in identity patterns and identity management strategies produce different adjustment outcomes in the context of working globally. Using this framework, this chapter lastly discusses practical implications, such as expatriate training to prepare various types of individuals for overseas assignments, and provide some future directions for the field.
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