Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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This study presents the role of social support and of networks for staff of small- and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations on foreign assignment. We used both, a qualitative and quantitative approach: qualitative interviews of staff of small- and medium-sized enterprises revealed the special need of support within the scope of the assignment and the immense significance of a well-functioning, supportive network. A quantitative survey with 143 respondents examined the relation between the phases of an assignment for satisfaction, stress, and company support. The outcome was that critical phases of foreign assignment were the sojourn and the return phases, marked by less life satisfaction, greater job stress and less perceived company support. We differentiated between source of support (network partner) and type of support (socio-emotional vs. instrumental). Consistent with our hypotheses, job satisfaction and job stress could be predicted by source of support and type of support, whereas life satisfaction could only be predicted by source of support. Implications for expatriate adjustment research and practice are discussed.

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