At Home Abroad: How Design and Architecture Influence Overseas Living:
Now available: Download our study on the importance of home environments to overseas living. We examined the relationship between housing choices and expatriate adjustment among 130 participants, who shared their experiences of choosing and settling into a home in a new country, and their thoughts about how their new home influences their cultural and family experience living overseas. Contact us for copies of the full report, either standard format or customized with your company’s cover and logo.
Voices from Home: The Personal and Family Side of Short-Term International Assignments and Extended Business Travel: Spouses' Perspective(Sponsored by Dwellworks)
In Phase II of the study we surveyed spouses of employees on such unaccompanied assignments, asking for their perspective on the assignment. What is it like for the family to stay at home? What jobs, roles and stresses does the at-home parent need to absorb? If he’s not there to talk to, confide in, offer advice or solace, have fun with, what’s she to do? How do families cope with the revolving exits and entrances of the employee? Just when they’ve gotten used to his being gone, he’s home for a visit. Do they return to their old pattern of decision-making, or having gotten used to managing on her own, does she resent his “interference?” In short, are short-term assignments good for marriages, or even “OK” for marriages?
And the children? How absent can a parent be and still maintain a loving and supportive connection to a child? What kinds of parenting can – and can’t – be offered by telephone and email? What events (like school plays, graduations, and games) are so important they can’t be missed, and do the parents and children agree on the answer to this question?
Matters: A Study of How to Help International Transferees Relocate: A
study of 104 international transferees who had moved (as expatriates or
repatriates) to one of 17 countries. What do people do to feel settled after
an international relocation? How do people learn about their new country?
What do parents do to help their children relocate smoothly? What role does
a moving company plan in this process?
Expatriates Many Voices:A
study of 101 accompanying spouses and partners who had recently moved
to the US because of their spouse/partners' job, focusing on their reactions
to Americans, what made a difference in their adjustment, and which services
helped smooth their way.
Many Women Many Voices:a study of 194
women who moved to a new country primarily because of their husbands'
jobs - what helped and what hurt their chances of adjusting smoothly to
their new lives.
Caught Between Cultures:a study of
Asian-American, Asian International, and European-American young adults
- their families, their emotions, and their adjustment.
Women On Overseas Assignments:a study
of women expatriates from around the world - their reflections on what
their companies are doing to maximize their adjustment at work and at
US-UK Moves:a study of cross-cultural
adjustment in American and British accompanying spouses.
We also conduct proprietary customized research studies
for companies and organizations that want to know, for example:
which pre-departure and on-site support activities are most beneficial
which personality and family situations are most conducive to success
in different cultures
how best to support expatriate families throughout their whole assignment
A Study Of Culture And Family Influences On Young Adults
Project Director: Anne P. Copeland,
Goals of Project:
To understand the blending of family and cultural values when young
adults move into a new culture.
132 university students (37 Asian Americans, 23 Asian international
students, and 72 European Americans).
Self-reports of mental health adjustment and relationships between
young adults and their parents.
A single family interaction pattern can have very different meanings
in two different cultural contexts. When families move from one country
to another, their family/cultural values may not match the ambient cultural
ones of the new country. This discordance may help to explain the pattern
of distress among Asian Americans that has often been reported in the
Both Asian groups described their mothers as having more permeable
boundaries - that is, having their mothers more closely involved in
all aspects of their lives - than did the European Americans.
Asian Americans reported feeling more conflict about their parental
relationships than did the other two groups.
For both American groups, more permeable parental relationships and
conflict about independence were related to poorer adjustment. However,
for the Asian international group, involved and permeable relationships
were related to several positive adjustment indicators.
It is critical not to examine family interaction patterns outside
their cultural context.
Cross-Cultural Adjustment In American And British Expatriate Accompanying
Project Director: Sara Norell, Ph.D.
(advised by Anne P. Copeland, Ph.D.)
Goals Of Project
To understand the commonly reported finding that family adjustment
is central to successful employee relocation.
To develop a deeper understanding of what affects spouses' international
experiences by going beyond superficial ratings of how they feel about
daily tasks and measuring their mental health and intercultural adjustment
To develop a deeper understanding of how personality affects mental
and intercultural adjustment
To develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics of US-UK assignments
(cultural and personal), as these have a high frequency and a perception
of 'culturally similarity,' and yet demonstrate considerable levels
of adjustment difficulty.
To explore the experiences of accompanying spouses from their own
point of view rather than simply as an influence on their husbands'
To provide a forum for expatriate accompanying spouses to communicate
their experiences and set a platform from which to make practical recommendations
to the international companies that move them.
88 American women living in UK, mostly in Greater London and 80 British
women living in USA, mostly in northeastern USA
Mostly (but not exclusively) white, married, well educated homemakers
with children, living in a new country temporarily because of their
husbands' jobs, expecting to return home or to another country within
within 2-5 years.
Recruited through women's associations, schools, American clubs, informal
expatriate networks, expatriate clubs, relocation companies, and multinationals
Findings: Factors around the Move
Only 6.5% of the spouses were consulted by their husbands' employers
before the decision to move was made. 23.8% said their husbands had
had more influence in the decision to move than they had. In addition,
26.6% of the spouses said that they and/or their husbands felt pressured
into accepting the assignment.
69.5% of the spouses felt happy and excited about the move at the
time of the decision.
Such premove circumstances were important for adjustment. Women who
felt that they (and their husbands) had a choice in the decision to
relocate, and who shared equally in this decision were better adjusted.
Women who had lived in their current country longer and who had more
host national friends were more interculturally adjusted, or integrated
with their host nationals, although they did not necessarily have better
mental well-being (ie, higher psychological adjustment)
Women who were more satisfied with the physical environment in their
host country were better interculturally adjusted and felt more integrated
in their host culture. British women were more satisfied with the quality
of their physical environment, and also felt more integrated into and
less marginalized by their host community than the American women living
The majority of American and British women described themselves as
homemakers, and there were no differences between American and British
women in their work status, with the exception that British women more
frequently described themselves as 'unemployed due to visa restrictions'
than American women.'
There were no differences in adjustment or intercultural adjustment
between working and non-working accompanying spouses. However, American
women were more satisfied with their work or educational situation than
British women. Coupled with the above finding on visa restrictions,
this implies that work satisfaction overseas relates more to self selection
or personal choice in work status while on assignment, than to work
status per se.
One of the strongest predictors of overseas adjustment was the social
support women felt they had. Women who were more satisfied with their
social relationships were better adjusted, regardless of the nationality
of their networks (ie, home, host, or third nationality).
Another strong predictor of overseas adjustment was having a good
marital relationship. Women who were closer and more disclosing to their
husbands were doing better overseas.
Personality And Life Values
American and British women had different personality profiles. American
women described themselves as more Type A (i.e., ambitious and headstrong)
and as having stronger religious beliefs and belief in God-mediated
control than their British counterparts.
Some personality dimensions were strong predictors of adjustment
for all women, especially having a sense of personal control in one's
life (eg. internal locus of control) and having a realistic sense that
one can control certain aspects of one's life. Also, assertiveness and
achievement orientation were beneficial for overseas adjustment. Women
higher on these were doing better, and the more assertive women were
also more integrated into the local community, and felt less marginalized
as foreigners in their host country.
Certain life values predicted adjustment for all women. The more adjusted
and integrated women believed more in 'having fun and enjoyment', and
a 'sense of accomplishment' in their lives. The less adjusted women
believed that 'having a sense of belonging' was more important.
Other life values were culturally specific in their benefits: British
women who believed more in 'being well respected' felt more integrated
into life in the USA, whereas Americans who believed more in 'being
well respected' felt less integrated and at home in Britain.
Women with satisfying religious or spiritual beliefs were more adjusted.
A belief in God-mediated control, however, only benefited British women
living in the USA. Britons who believed more in God-mediated control
were more integrated into their local communities in the USA.
Furthermore, only British women benefited from being more punctual
on social and professional occasions. Upholding and valuing more punctuality
assimilated British women into the American way of life. Conversely,
Americans who were less punctual socially, perhaps more laid back, felt
more integrated into the British lifestyle.
On the other hand, only Americans benefited from being more Type
A and self-disclosing to acquaintances. Ambitious and headstrong Americans
who revealed themselves more to acquaintances felt more adjusted and
integrated into life in Britain.
In summary therefore, the personality variables covered in this research
project fall into three categories:
1) Some optimized overseas adjustment for all women (ie, they were
helpful regardless of nationality and host country, such as having premove
decision-making power, a sense of personal control and social support,
and being assertive).
2) Some facilitated adjustment by enabling women to act in their culturally
comfortable ways (ie, being more the American cultural generalization
or the British cultural generalization, for example, being a higher
Type A American and less self-disclosing Briton to acquaintances).
3) Lastly, others eased the transition in that they merged women with
their host culture ways, creating a better Person-Culture fit (ie, being
a less punctual American in Britain and a more religiously oriented
Briton in the USA).
For further information on this survey, contact Sara Norell on + 44 207
951 9936 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.