Kauppatieteellinen tiedekunta, 2013
Dr. Adam Smale
Johtaminen ja organisaatiot
Master's Degree Programme in International Business
Due to increased competition in a globalized economy, international organizations need to mobilize those resources, that will distinguish themselves from their rivals and which help them to stay competitive. One particular effective method is the assignment of expatriates, since it enables the organization to transfer knowledge to and from headquarters and their subsidiaries on the one hand, as well as to simultaneously develop future global leaders on the other hand. However, those expatriate assignments are often not without difficulties and expatriate failure is a phenomenon that many organizations have experienced firsthand, supplemented with immense direct and indirect costs. The reasons for this failure often lie in the inability of the accompanying spouse to adjust to the foreign environment, due to the lack of support on behalf of the expatriate company for the partners. Hence, the aim of this research is to examine the kind of support spouses receive from the organization, how effective this support for their adjustment is and to identify responsible factors.
In order to address the research topic in an adequate manner, this study adopts a pragmatic approach, since the research questions involve inductive as well as deductive elements. To capture the individual experiences of the spouses and richness of information, semi-structured interviews were chosen to create the emergence of unexpected findings. In total, eight interviews have been conducted with Indian spouses who accompanied their partners on an international assignment in Finland.
The empirical results of this study provided evidence that spouses still don’t receive enough support from the expatriate companies. The existing gap between actual and desired support is immense, but could be solved though inexpensive means on part of the organization. Regarding the adjustment process of the spouses, several environmental, interactional and personal antecedents can facilitate their adjustment, for instance, knowledge of the host country language, presence of pre-school children and personal motivation. This thesis contributes to the research of spouses from developing countries, which has not received attention in literature so far.
Expatriate Spouses, Cross-Cultural Adjustment, Organizational Support