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Expatriatens teoretiska verklighet – en historia av motsägelser

Carlsson, Lisa LU and Petersson, Robert LU (2013) KSKK01 20131
Department of Service Management and Service Studies
Abstract
The competition on the global market is becoming increasingly tough for international companies where workers located abroad, so called expatriates are thought of as an important tool in obtaining competition advantages. Several scientists have studied different parts of a mission abroad for expatriates where pre-departure training as well as adjustment to the host country has been accentuated. However, science in the field of cultural adaptation is missing a perspective which conveys a comparative reasoning regarding what managers as well as expatriates consider to be of importance in these aspects of the mission abroad. The purpose of this thesis is therefore to study these aspects through a qualitative methodology where a manager- as... (More)
The competition on the global market is becoming increasingly tough for international companies where workers located abroad, so called expatriates are thought of as an important tool in obtaining competition advantages. Several scientists have studied different parts of a mission abroad for expatriates where pre-departure training as well as adjustment to the host country has been accentuated. However, science in the field of cultural adaptation is missing a perspective which conveys a comparative reasoning regarding what managers as well as expatriates consider to be of importance in these aspects of the mission abroad. The purpose of this thesis is therefore to study these aspects through a qualitative methodology where a manager- as well as an expatriate perspective is applied. Particular focus will address the appearance of culture shock as to how its effects can be minimized.

The primary source of this thesis is semi structured interviews with five people whom are either currently working abroad or have completed past missions abroad and are presently located in Sweden. In addition to these five expatriates, two managers within Human Resource have been interviewed in order to communicate how each of their companies manages missions abroad. All reports of the informants have then been analyzed in regards to previous theories of science.

The results of the thesis demonstrate how there is an existing difference between what scientists in their theories regard as important within pre-departure training and what is being executed in actual situations. All informants have pointed out how the core of cultural dissimilarities is not possible to grasp until having arrived in the host country. This result in cross-cultural training, which according to scientists should take place before the departure, in best case scenario is being offered in the host country at the beginning of the mission. It has also emerged how companies mainly offer support in practical matters such as house searching and language training. However, other aspects such as cross-cultural training are managed by the expatriate’s own initiative.

During the progress of the study information has emerged regarding how several expatriates choose to leave their company when returning to Sweden. Future research should therefore address this following step within the mission abroad where the expatriate will return to its company in Sweden. The reason for this is that continuous research withholding the same character as this thesis could accentuate the effects of cross-cultural training and culture shock on a deeper level. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Konkurrensen på den globala marknaden blir allt hårdare för internationella företag där utlandsplacerade medarbetare, så kallade expatriater anses vara ett viktigt verktyg för att erhålla konkurrensfördelar. Flera forskare har studerat olika delar av utlandsuppdrag där såväl förberedande träning innan uppdraget som anpassning på plats i värdlandet har framhävts. Dock saknas forskning där ett komparativt resonemang förs angående vad chefer samt expatriater upplever vara av betydelse i dessa delar av utlandsuppdraget. Syftet med denna uppsats är därför att studera dessa aspekter med kvalitativ metodologi där både ett lednings- samt
expatriatperspektiv appliceras. Särskilt fokus riktas mot fenomenet kulturkrock och hur dess effekter kan... (More)
Konkurrensen på den globala marknaden blir allt hårdare för internationella företag där utlandsplacerade medarbetare, så kallade expatriater anses vara ett viktigt verktyg för att erhålla konkurrensfördelar. Flera forskare har studerat olika delar av utlandsuppdrag där såväl förberedande träning innan uppdraget som anpassning på plats i värdlandet har framhävts. Dock saknas forskning där ett komparativt resonemang förs angående vad chefer samt expatriater upplever vara av betydelse i dessa delar av utlandsuppdraget. Syftet med denna uppsats är därför att studera dessa aspekter med kvalitativ metodologi där både ett lednings- samt
expatriatperspektiv appliceras. Särskilt fokus riktas mot fenomenet kulturkrock och hur dess effekter kan minimeras.

Uppsatsens primära källa är semistrukturerade intervjuer med fem personer vilka arbetar utomlands i nuläget eller har avslutat tidigare utlandsuppdrag och befinner sig därmed i Sverige. Utöver dessa fem expatriater har två chefer inom Human Resource intervjuats för att
delge hur deras respektive företag arbetar med utlandsuppdrag. Samtliga informanters redogörelser har sedan relaterats till tidigare forskningsteorier.

Resultaten från studien visar hur det existerar en ytterst stor skillnad i vad forskningsteori anser betydande inom förberedande träning inför utlandsuppdrag och vad som genomförs i praktiken. Samtliga informanter har påpekat hur kärnan i kulturella skillnader mellan hemland och värdland inte går att ta till sig förrän väl på plats i värdlandet. Detta medför att interkulturell träning som enligt forskare bör ske innan avfärd, i bästa fall erbjuds på plats vid
uppdragets start. Det har även framkommit hur företag till största delen erbjuder hjälp med praktiska aspekter såsom bostadssökande samt språkträning, dock hanteras övriga aspekter såsom interkulturell träning på eget initiativ av expatriaten.

Under studiens gång har information framkommit angående hur ett stort antal expatriater väljer att lämna företaget vid hemkomst i Sverige. Framtida forskning bör därför riktas mot detta följande steg i utlandsuppdraget där expatriaten ska återvända till sitt företag i Sverige. Detta med anledning av att vidare studier av denna uppsats karaktär kan framhäva effekter av interkulturell träning samt kulturkrockar på en djupare nivå. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
@misc{3915369,
  abstract     = {The competition on the global market is becoming increasingly tough for international companies where workers located abroad, so called expatriates are thought of as an important tool in obtaining competition advantages. Several scientists have studied different parts of a mission abroad for expatriates where pre-departure training as well as adjustment to the host country has been accentuated. However, science in the field of cultural adaptation is missing a perspective which conveys a comparative reasoning regarding what managers as well as expatriates consider to be of importance in these aspects of the mission abroad. The purpose of this thesis is therefore to study these aspects through a qualitative methodology where a manager- as well as an expatriate perspective is applied. Particular focus will address the appearance of culture shock as to how its effects can be minimized.

The primary source of this thesis is semi structured interviews with five people whom are either currently working abroad or have completed past missions abroad and are presently located in Sweden. In addition to these five expatriates, two managers within Human Resource have been interviewed in order to communicate how each of their companies manages missions abroad. All reports of the informants have then been analyzed in regards to previous theories of science.

The results of the thesis demonstrate how there is an existing difference between what scientists in their theories regard as important within pre-departure training and what is being executed in actual situations. All informants have pointed out how the core of cultural dissimilarities is not possible to grasp until having arrived in the host country. This result in cross-cultural training, which according to scientists should take place before the departure, in best case scenario is being offered in the host country at the beginning of the mission. It has also emerged how companies mainly offer support in practical matters such as house searching and language training. However, other aspects such as cross-cultural training are managed by the expatriate’s own initiative.

During the progress of the study information has emerged regarding how several expatriates choose to leave their company when returning to Sweden. Future research should therefore address this following step within the mission abroad where the expatriate will return to its company in Sweden. The reason for this is that continuous research withholding the same character as this thesis could accentuate the effects of cross-cultural training and culture shock on a deeper level.},
  author       = {Carlsson, Lisa and Petersson, Robert},
  keyword      = {expatriate,cross-cultural training,adjustment,culture shock,language training,expatriate communities expatriat,interkulturell träning,anpassning,kulturkrock,språkträning,expatriatsamhällen},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Expatriatens teoretiska verklighet – en historia av motsägelser},
  year         = {2013},
}