Ross Davidson is affiliated with The Open University's Department for People and Organisations.
Despite the current challenging economic climate and social unrest worldwide, organizations continue to deploy people on ‘traditional’ expatriate assignments ... usually in key positions. The international organization setting of the expatriate is very complex. Most people assigned to ex patria postings fit into the new organization environment with little effort; however, a significant number struggle. As you are aware struggling employees can represent a serious disruption and cost to operations. Importantly, this situation can be very detrimental to the individual’s career as well. With better understanding of the expatriate experience, selection and support protocols can be improved.
Through the lens of the expatriate in China, my PhD research seeks to understand what dimensions are perceived as most relevant to their satisfaction within their international organization setting. Through a mixed methods approach using causal maps and interviews, I am developing a cognitive model of their experience. Positive reactions from academia and expatriates have allowed me to develop a network of contacts for further research.
Future research will continue to engage with people in international organizations and will focus on three themes. The first theme is to build on my PhD research that is focussed on understanding people in their international organization setting. The second theme is the female expatriate. Only recently have women entered the international arena in significant numbers, thus this phenomenon warrants attention. Finally, the knowledge transfer interface between the expatriate and the local Chinese employee is critical yet not well understood.
You can learn more about this research from my award winning poster.