The cross-cultural adjustment of foreign female expatriates in Finland - social support perspective

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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Organisaatiot ja johtaminen
Organization and Management
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The aim of the study was to provide an insight to the cross-cultural adjustment of female expatriates in Finland taking a viewpoint of social support. The study draws from female expatriate literature and cross-cultural adjustment literature and utilizes the model for the influence of social interaction and social support on female expatriates' cross-cultural adjustment by Caligiuri and Lazarova (2002) to examine the topic. The study's purpose is to shed light into what challenges foreign female expatriates faced in their assignments in Finland and how the female expatriates have experienced them. The study also examines what different sources of social support there are in the context of Finland for foreign female expatriates and the types of support they provide. Finally, the study draws together how the social support provided by various social support sources through social interactions can help foreign female expatriates to adjust cross-culturally in Finland. The study is qualitative and the data was collected conducting nine individual semi-structured interviews with foreign female expatriates working in a multinational organization headquartered in Finland. The data was analyzed using thematic analysis. The themes were then examined in the light of earlier literature and the model of social support (Caligiuri and Lazarova, 2002). The study confirms the challenges described in earlier literature still face foreign female expatriates today. Two new findings were made regarding the challenges: demotivation towards taking an international assignment in Finland and demotivation towards learning the language. The study confirms six sources of social support and finds three new sources: Organization, manager and governmental support systems. Also, the study shows how the context of Finland can be examined in relation to the experiences of foreign female expatriates in the light of the model of social support (Caligiuri and Lazarova, 2002). The study gives suggestions for future research and recommendations for organizations.
cross-cultural adjustment, female expatriate, social support
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