“Self-initiated expatriates’ (SIE) perceptions on diversity initiatives in Finland – effective or room for improvement?”- An extensive multiple case study on expatriates in Southern Finland

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Management and International Business (MIB)
The thesis is about divesity initiatives by Finnish corporates to utilize and integrate self-initiated expatriates (SIE) at work. SIE means foreigers who come to Finland voluntarily and are different from assigned expatriates, sent to Finland by companies. The research was a multiple case study of semi-structured interviews of four expatriates in various Finnish companies in Southern Finland. The study explored how SIE perceirved diversity initiatives by their companies and suggested recommendations in practice. There had been research topics on diversity mangement for minorities (Dinwoodie, 2005), leadership for every employee to motivate him or her to perform more extra-role behaviors cited by Noermijati and Azzuhri (2018) and other reseachers, social support to alleviate acculturation stress for foreign workers (Ward and Kennedy, 1993) and cross-cultural training for assigned expatriates (Morris and Robie, 2001). All of those initiatives were to aim at maximizing workers’ capabilities for organizational benefits but none of those research papers were applied for SIE in Finland. Research about integration and utilization of SIE is important for Finland because currently the country needs more workers to maintain the highly-praised social welfare Nordic model in the future. My qualitative research study generated several important findings. Diversity management helped erase stereotypes and discrimination at surface level but might not be very effective in deeper level. Not every leadership (transformational, social exchange based and Path-Goal theory leadership) was effective the same way for every expatriate and personalities or cultural identities might be the explanations. Social support were very effective for expatriates but in fact (very) limited in practice. Expatriates in Finland all needed an interactive Finnish language training (not yet implemented in practice) to overcome the barrier of a more challenging tongue than many others. Recommendations of corporates were based on those findings. My main contribution throughout the Thesis, therefore, was to build a framework of how to utilize and integrate SIE better in organizations. The managerial implications were concerning better understanding from corporates about the law in Finland for SIE, more joint activities, better evaluation of expatriates’ ideas, improvement on teamwork based on more communication, how to take advantages from difference in cultural identities, and more Finnish cultural training for expatriates.
Thesis advisor
Saittakari, Iiris
Polvinen, Hilla
self initiated expatriates, diversity initiatives, diversity management, acculturation stress, leadership
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