Expatriate contact with a local host: an intervention to increase social support

Marian van Bakel*, Jan Pieter van Oudenhoven, Marinel Gerritsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social capital is a crucial factor for expatriates to employ as they cope with the demands of an international assignment. This longitudinal study used a mixed method approach to examine the social support benefits of expatriate contact with a local host. Western expatriates in the Netherlands were randomly divided into two groups: an experimental group (n = 33), that had contact with a Dutch host during 9 months, and a control group (n = 32) with no host. Qualitative methods such as interviews and diaries were included to shed light on the various types of social support that occurred. Results show that local hosts offered all four types of social support: social companionship, informational support, emotional support, and instrumental support. Furthermore, expatriates with a host increased their social capital; they received significantly more social support from host nationals than did those without a host. This study shows that HRD professionals may develop the social capital of expatriates by bringing them into contact with a local host, which can produce more social support from host nationals. Increased social capital may lead to a higher performance at both the individual and organisational levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-235
Number of pages21
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Expatriate-local interactions
  • host nationals
  • local host
  • social capital
  • social support
  • HRD intervention
  • INTERNATIONAL ADJUSTMENT
  • IMPACT
  • PERFORMANCE
  • NETWORKS
  • CONSEQUENCES
  • ANTECEDENTS
  • ASSIGNEES
  • MANAGERS
  • MODEL

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