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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 5 In recent years, the study of expatriate cultural adjustment has received the increased scholarly attention. The expatriate adjustment studies that have been conducted are grouped into two broad categories: theory-oriented approach in their study and studies based on empirical researches. In the theoretical approach, conceptual models were presented to identify the different facets of expatriate adjustment (e.g., Aycan, 1997a; Black et al., 1991). In her model, Aycan (1997a) conceptualizes adjustment as three forms of adjustment respectively—psychological, sociocultural and work adjustment. Psychological adjustment is defined in terms of maintaining mental and physical well-being. It deals with subjective well-being or mood states such as depression, anxiety and fatigue. In contrast, sociocultural adjustment indicates becoming effective in the new society, handling non-work problems and maintaining successful interpersonal relationships with members of the host society. It deals with the ability to “fit-in” or to negotiate interactive aspects of the host culture as measured by the amount of difficulty experienced in managing everyday situations in the host culture (Ward & Kennedy, 1996). Work adjustment is conceptualized as competent performance, the successful accomplishment of work goals, and organizational commitment to the local unit. Based on this analysis, Aycan lists sixteen ‘propositions’ regarding the antecedents of these three types of adjustment. Typical propositions state that positive adjustment will be related to sojourner characteristics such as technical competence, previous cross-cultural experience, relational skills, cultural flexibility and extroversion. Aycan (1997a) exemplified numerous studies in 1960s that are presented as evidence in support of these propositions. In addition to Aycan’s conceptualizations of three different forms of adjustment, Black et al. (1991) have proposed two major components of the expatriate adjustment process to understand international adjustment. The first component, anticipatory adjustment, includes selection mechanisms and accurate expectations, which are based on training and previous international experience. The proper level of anticipatory adjustment facilitates the second major component, in-country adjustment. They argued that if appropriate anticipatory adjustments can be made, the actual in-country adjustment in the new international setting will be easier and quicker (Black, Mendenhall, & Oddou, 1991). Black et al. (1991)

Authors: Kim, II, Yang-Soo.
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Cross-cultural Adaptation 5
In recent years, the study of expatriate cultural adjustment has received the increased scholarly
attention. The expatriate adjustment studies that have been conducted are grouped into two broad
categories: theory-oriented approach in their study and studies based on empirical researches. In the
theoretical approach, conceptual models were presented to identify the different facets of expatriate
adjustment (e.g., Aycan, 1997a; Black et al., 1991). In her model, Aycan (1997a) conceptualizes
adjustment as three forms of adjustment respectively—psychological, sociocultural and work adjustment.
Psychological adjustment is defined in terms of maintaining mental and physical well-being. It deals
with subjective well-being or mood states such as depression, anxiety and fatigue. In contrast,
sociocultural adjustment indicates becoming effective in the new society, handling non-work problems
and maintaining successful interpersonal relationships with members of the host society. It deals with
the ability to “fit-in” or to negotiate interactive aspects of the host culture as measured by the amount of
difficulty experienced in managing everyday situations in the host culture (Ward & Kennedy, 1996).
Work adjustment is conceptualized as competent performance, the successful accomplishment of work
goals, and organizational commitment to the local unit. Based on this analysis, Aycan lists sixteen
‘propositions’ regarding the antecedents of these three types of adjustment. Typical propositions state
that positive adjustment will be related to sojourner characteristics such as technical competence,
previous cross-cultural experience, relational skills, cultural flexibility and extroversion. Aycan (1997a)
exemplified numerous studies in 1960s that are presented as evidence in support of these propositions. In
addition to Aycan’s conceptualizations of three different forms of adjustment, Black et al. (1991) have
proposed two major components of the expatriate adjustment process to understand international
adjustment. The first component, anticipatory adjustment, includes selection mechanisms and accurate
expectations, which are based on training and previous international experience. The proper level of
anticipatory adjustment facilitates the second major component, in-country adjustment. They argued that
if appropriate anticipatory adjustments can be made, the actual in-country adjustment in the new
international setting will be easier and quicker (Black, Mendenhall, & Oddou, 1991). Black et al. (1991)


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