Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Michael Coovert

Keywords

adjustment, culture, ethnocentrism, implicit, international management

Abstract

Expatriates' degree of adjustment to living and working in a foreign country is well-accepted as an important outcome variable in expatriate management research. However, measures of degree of adjustment do not capture the breadth of strategies expatriates may use to achieve such adjustment, which may be critical for understanding whether expatriates have achieved a healthy and productive orientation to life abroad. Borrowing from research on immigrant populations, this study examines the construct of expatriate acculturation strategies, which characterize expatriates' mode of adjustment along two independent dimensions reflecting maintenance of one's home culture and engagement of the host culture, respectively. One hundred U.S. expatriates were recruited and completed an index of acculturation strategies. In addition, participants completed survey and reaction-time based measures of proposed antecedents, correlates, and outcomes of varying acculturation strategies. Results suggest that expatriates largely pursue either a maintenance-focused or engagement-focused strategy and that acculturation strategies are not redundant with degree of adjustment. Relationships between acculturation strategies and relevant individual differences, characteristics of expatriate positions, and outcomes are discussed.

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