Date of Conferral
Marlon F. Sukal
Globalization and international business increasingly require the services of skilled expatriates in overseas offices. Over the past 50 years, numerous studies have focused on various factors affecting expatriate adjustment, primarily through quantitative research, reaching no conclusions on what factors in cross-cultural training would guarantee expatriate success. Expatriate failure has high personal and organizational costs. The purpose of this study was to use the qualitative methodology of narrative inquiry to investigate the adjustment, transition, and repatriation experience as a holistic process. Two theoretical constructions, Bandura's social learning theory, applied to the learning process in an international assignment, and social identity theory, represented key factors in the expatriate experience. The overarching research question investigated the distinct factors that contributed to the overall success or failure of an expatriate. Narrative inquiry, and open-ended questions, allowed the participants to reveal their stories. Participants (N = 14) were selected using criterion and convenience sampling. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded into themes using an iterative process. Results established weak organizational support in the preparation and repatriation stages. Participants considered their assignments a success and exhibited strong self-efficacy and internal locus of control. The need for successful expatriate performance will continue to increase with globalization; findings in this study can contribute to the training, support, and repatriation of employees. The potential for social change includes the improvement in global business functioning and international understanding.