Successful adaptation strategies according expatriates

Jan Pieter Van Oudenhoven*, K.I. Van der Zee, Mariska Van Kooten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study examined which personal characteristics underlie four types of allegiances that expatriates may have to the parent firm and the local firm. The four types are free agents: low allegiance to either firm; going native expatriates: high allegiance to the local firm and a low allegiance to the parent firm; hearts-at-the-parent-company expatriates: low allegiance to the local firm and a high allegiance to the parent firm; dual citizens: they have a high allegiance to both the parent and the local firm. Expatriates of a big international company (N = 127) rated the importance of items referring to cultural empathy, open-mindedness, extraversion, emotional stability, adventurousness, orientation to action, flexibility, perseverance and organization commitment to multicultural success. Factor analysis showed that flexibility and adventurousness are associated with the free-agent allegiance, extraversion and cultural empathy with the going-native allegiance, open-mindedness and orientation to action with the dual citizen allegiance, and commitment to the company and perseverance to the heart-at-the-parent-company allegiance. The perceived importance of the allegiances differed dependent upon the expatriates' age and their type of job. Interestingly, expatriates who were stationed in Africa considered the going-native and the free-agent allegiances to be of less importance than did expatriates who were stationed elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-482
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2001


  • Acculturation
  • Adaptation strategies
  • Dual citizens
  • Expatriates
  • Free agents
  • Going-native-expatriates


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