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Host Communication Competence and Psychological Health: A Study of Cross-cultural Adaptation of Korean Expatriate Employees in the United States*
Unformatted Document Text:  Cross-cultural Adaptation 4 (Black and Gregersen, 1991; Naumann, 1992). Furthermore, withdrawal from international assignments can also be costly for expatriates and their families, in terms of diminished self-esteem, impaired relationships, and interrupted careers (Tung, 1988). In addition, it was also indicated that expatriates who cannot adjust but remain on their assignments and fail to perform adequately, could be even more damaging to their organizations than those who return early (Harzing, 1995). Of the several reasons suggested in the literature for this failure--such as adjustment to different physical or cultural environments, other family-related problems, personality or emotional maturity, technical competence for the overseas job assignment, and lack of motivation to work overseas--the adjustment of employees and their families to life overseas appears to be a prominent one (Black and Gregersen, 1991; Tung, 1988). A clear implication from the adjustment literature (Black, 1988; Nicholson & Imaizumi, 1993; Shaffer & Harrison, 1998) is that expatriates who do not adjust properly to their international assignment will not perform as well, will psychologically withdraw, and will likely quit (return early). On the other hand, the more adjusted expatriates are, the more they will be likely to complete their foreign assignment (Stroh, Dennis, & Cramer, 1994; Kramer, Wayne, & Jaworski, 2001). As successful expatriate adjustment to a different host cultural milieu often is the prime determinant of expatriate job performance, it is important to comprehend how expatriates adapt themselves and what factors influence their adjustment in the host culture, resulting in successful job performance and life experience overseas. Although many studies have provided insights on some of the determinants (or predictors) of expatriate adjustment, the field of expatriate adjustment study is still in need of solid empirical research based on theory (Aycan, 1997a). Thus, the purpose of this study, based on Kim’s (2001) cross-cultural adaptation theory, is to explore and examine the cross-cultural adaptation experience of Korean expatriates in the U.S. by assessing host communication competence, interpersonal communication, mass communication and psychological health. Expatriates Adjustment Studies

Authors: Kim, II, Yang-Soo.
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Cross-cultural Adaptation 4
(Black and Gregersen, 1991; Naumann, 1992). Furthermore, withdrawal from international assignments
can also be costly for expatriates and their families, in terms of diminished self-esteem, impaired
relationships, and interrupted careers (Tung, 1988). In addition, it was also indicated that expatriates
who cannot adjust but remain on their assignments and fail to perform adequately, could be even more
damaging to their organizations than those who return early (Harzing, 1995).
Of the several reasons suggested in the literature for this failure--such as adjustment to different
physical or cultural environments, other family-related problems, personality or emotional maturity,
technical competence for the overseas job assignment, and lack of motivation to work overseas--the
adjustment of employees and their families to life overseas appears to be a prominent one (Black and
Gregersen, 1991; Tung, 1988). A clear implication from the adjustment literature (Black, 1988;
Nicholson & Imaizumi, 1993; Shaffer & Harrison, 1998) is that expatriates who do not adjust properly to
their international assignment will not perform as well, will psychologically withdraw, and will likely
quit (return early). On the other hand, the more adjusted expatriates are, the more they will be likely to
complete their foreign assignment (Stroh, Dennis, & Cramer, 1994; Kramer, Wayne, & Jaworski, 2001).
As successful expatriate adjustment to a different host cultural milieu often is the prime
determinant of expatriate job performance, it is important to comprehend how expatriates adapt
themselves and what factors influence their adjustment in the host culture, resulting in successful job
performance and life experience overseas. Although many studies have provided insights on some of the
determinants (or predictors) of expatriate adjustment, the field of expatriate adjustment study is still in
need of solid empirical research based on theory (Aycan, 1997a).
Thus, the purpose of this study, based on Kim’s (2001) cross-cultural adaptation theory, is to
explore and examine the cross-cultural adaptation experience of Korean expatriates in the U.S. by
assessing host communication competence, interpersonal communication, mass communication and
psychological health.
Expatriates Adjustment Studies


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