Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Anthony Lolas

Abstract

Companies that have moved their operations from the United States to other countries have forced top management to rely on their managers for leading overseas assignments. However, the success rate of expatriate managers is low and is a concern for top management in corporations. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the shared lived experiences of 20 expatriate managers to identify methods which may improve the success rates of expatriate managers asked to participate in overseas assignments. Social learning, cultural shock, and experiential learning were used to support the conceptual framework linking how cross-cultural training, adaptation, problems, and knowledge acquisition may explain expatriate manager success. Data were collected through an interview process, and were coded to identify themes. Emergent themes included cross-cultural training, effective tools for managing cross-cultural teams, and challenges of managing cross-cultural teams. The results of the study indicated that, for these 20 expatriate managers, cross-cultural training was essential in improving their skills and effectiveness. Findings showed that cross-cultural training provided tools to improve communication, overall leadership, adaptation, understanding of the new culture, and increased collaboration when managing cross-cultural teams. U.S. organizations may benefit from these results by implementing best practice cross-cultural training programs for future expatriate managers. The findings contribute to positive social change by providing guidance that could improve the success rates of future expatriate managers during oversea assignments.