Cosmopolitanism, Assignment Duration, and Expatriate Adjustment: The Trade-Off between Well-Being and Performance

32 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2009 Last revised: 27 Mar 2012

See all articles by Amir Grinstein

Amir Grinstein

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - School of Management

Luc Wathieu

Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

Date Written: December 9, 2008

Abstract

This paper questions the notion that expatriates should adjust to their host country, by showing that adjustment and its consequences are affected by cosmopolitanism and expected assignment duration. A study of 260 expatriates in the U.S. reveals that cosmopolitans expecting shorter (longer) assignments adjust more (less) to both work and non-work aspects of their host country, and that this is associated with increased well-being. In contrast, for non-cosmopolitans, more well-being occurs when longer (shorter) expected assignments are accompanied by increased (decreased) work and non-work adjustment. Further, from the findings emerges a clash between two aspects of successful expatriation - well-being and professional success: while non-work adjustment is not always associated with well-being, work adjustment is positively related to assignment performance across conditions and subjects.

Keywords: Expatriates, international assignment, cosmopolitanism, crossculture adjustment, multinational corporations, preference persistence, assignment duration, survey method

JEL Classification: D23

Suggested Citation

Grinstein, Amir and Wathieu, Luc, Cosmopolitanism, Assignment Duration, and Expatriate Adjustment: The Trade-Off between Well-Being and Performance (December 9, 2008). ESMT Working Paper No. 08-011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1353128 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1353128

Amir Grinstein

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 653
Beer-Sheva 84105
Israel

Luc Wathieu (Contact Author)

Georgetown University McDonough School of Business ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

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