Sunday, February 5, 2012

Expat Research Results & New Requests: Can You Help?

Hi Everyone, Firstly, thank you to those who last year helped Regula Sindemann by completing a survey related to her Masters thesis on Cultural Intelligence. Regula kindly shares her main findings below.

Secondly, we have a two more researchers today looking for help with their expat-related research. Please help if you can. Many thanks! Andrea Martins

Research Results from Regula's Cultural Intelligence Research:

"Last year, I finished my Master thesis on the concept of Cultural Intelligence and its relevance for expatriate spouses/partners. (Thanks to everyone who helped!) We had 153 data sets, which allowed me to run meaningful statistical analysis, and I wanted to share my main findings here:

In case you are wondering what Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is: 'CQ is the capability to function effectively in culturally diverse situations' (Ang & van Dyne, Handbook of Cultural Intelligence, 2008). Basically, it predicts and explains why some people thrive and some struggle in culturally diverse settings. It consists of four complementary capabilities or dimensions: CQ Drive, CQ Knowledge, CQ Strategy, and CQ Action.

Main findings:

  • The findings showed a significant correlation between CQ and the satisfaction level expat spouses/partners (ES) expressed. In other words: Those respondents who assessed their CQ at a high level, also reported a general satisfaction with their life as an ES.

  • Interestingly, not all dimensions showed the same influence: CQ Knowledge, i.e. the level of understanding about how cultures are similar and different, played the least influential part. This suggests that whilst it is certainly helpful to know e.g. how to present a gift in China or how to behave in an Islamic environment, it will not guarantee a good assignment experience. Motivation, strategy and action play an equally if not even more important role. 

  • CQ emphasizes learned capabilities more than personality traits. It is not fixed, but can develop and grow through experience and learning.

  • Being happy and satisfied is obviously very important for the ES him- or herself; however, it also has a strong influence on the assignment success of the expatriated employee. So, expatriating companies are well advised to invest in ES, be it with relocation services, housing allowances or, and I bet you saw this coming, by helping them to increase their CQ with training or coaching.

  • If you would you like to learn more about CQ and the possibilities of developing it, or you have comments, please let me know. I am also happy to share ‘my knowledge’ and to refer you to some interesting books or web pages on this topic.

    Whilst my project focused on CQ and its relevance for ES, I do believe that the concept of CQ shows strong promise of being valuable to all global citizens. It is a framework that fosters cultural understanding and respect; a mind-set beneficial to individuals, organizations and nations alike. Best wishes, Regula Sindemann."

    New Research Request: For Repatriates

    Thekla Wesche is currently conducting research for her Masters thesis, with the Human Resource Management department of the Radboud University Nijmegen, in The Netherlands. The topic of the thesis is related to repatriation. The supervision is by professor Dr. Beate van der Heijden.

    "Repatriation of expatriates is often neglected by organizations. Research has shown that employers often do not optimally value new experiences gained abroad. This, in turn, can cause serious problems while readjusting in the home country. Therefore, it is important for organizations and management to get more insight in perceptions expatriates might have after their international assignment.

    The specific objective of this study is to get an understanding of how perceptions of the psychological contract of repatriates influence their organizational commitment. The focus of the research is on expatriates who have returned to their home country recently.

    The survey takes about ten to fifteen minutes. Thank you in advance to anyone who can help. Warmest regards, Thekla Wesche." 

    New Research Request: For Expatriates in Israel

    Dani Kranz is a social anthropologist in the Institute of Area Studies Transnational at Erfurt University (Germany). Her current research project concerns expatriates and their families in Israel. The project centres on how expatriates experience Israel, how they structure their social relationships, and if they form a community of expatriates. She will be conducting fieldwork in Israel in February and March 2012.

    "I am specifically seeking for expatriates, who would agree to an interview and/or letting me take part in their daily activities. I am happy to discuss my project, and provide further details. I also seek contact to former expatriates, expatriate spouses or children who used to live in Israel. Full anonymity and full confidentiality will be granted. Your support would be very helpful for me. Kind regards, Dani Kranz."

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