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The Psychology of Successful Expatriation

The Psychology of Successful Expatriation: Unleashing Success by Identifying and Coaching on Specific Characteristics

 Kelly Ross (MSLOC 2011)

Abstract

Today’s increasingly global business world is resulting in more organizations sending employees to work outside their home countries as expatriates. Organizations incur tremendous costs to support expatriate assignments, which are challenging for the employees as well. The primary goal of this study is to define the characteristics that describe successful expatriates. The study’s secondary goal is to assess how coaching can support the expatriate’s success. Nearly 200 expatriates completed the study’s survey testing five hypothesized characteristics thought to describe successful expatriates: adventurousness, cultural sensitivity, curiosity, flexibility, and open mindedness. The findings show that these characteristics are critical to expatriate’s success: 95-97% of the respondents rate each of the characteristics as moderately or very important. There is also further evidence that executive coaching would increase expatriate success.

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