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The Impact of Family Adjustment in Expatriate Success

Murat Erogul, Afzalur Rahman


Family adjustment to a new country plays a significant role in expatriate success. This paper investigates the reasons behind expatriate failure relative to personal characteristics of partner, family characteristics, and cultural distance. The authors discuss family related issues and contribute to the better understanding on the problems that cause expatriate failure through identity theory and investigate how organizations could support the expatriate experience by taking into consideration the role of the spouse and family, along with cultural distance to the expatriate destination. There are only a few studies that link experiences of expatriate family and partner to international assignment success. We add to this research by examining the spouse and family adjustment process through the use of identity theory. We provide guidelines on the impact of family adjustment in expatriation literature to help organizations better equip both the expatriate employee and their family with sufficient cross-cultural training and social learning opportunities. Our contribution provides a level of analysis on determining expatriation success factors and guiding organizations in facilitating the cultural adjustment of expatriates and their families. The paper provides implications to industry and practice on key success factors needed to reduce failure.


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