Clash of Cultures? German Expatriates' Work‐Life Boundary Adjustment in South Korea

18 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2018

See all articles by Anna Katharina Bader

Anna Katharina Bader

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Fabian Jintae Froese

Independent

Albert Kraeh

University of Goettingen (Göttingen); University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Date Written: Autumn (Fall) 2018

Abstract

Managing work‐life balance abroad is considered as one of the key challenges associated with expatriation. That is particularly true when the enactment of the work‐life boundaries of expatriates' home and host countries diverge. Drawing from boundary theory, we investigate whether and how expatriates experience cross‐cultural challenges in terms of their work‐life boundaries abroad. We interviewed 28 German expatriates in South Korea because both cultures differ substantially in terms of their preferred work‐life boundaries. Our study shows that perceived work‐life boundary pressures in the foreign environment and willingness to adjust to the local work‐life boundary culture vary substantially among expatriates. Based on a function of these two forces, we develop a typology of four work‐life boundary adjustment styles and relate them to work‐life balance satisfaction. Furthermore, we identify individual and organizational factors that influence expatriates' work‐life boundary adjustment styles. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Keywords: expatriates, work‐life balance, work‐life conflict, boundary theory, boundary management styles, South Korea, Germany

Suggested Citation

Bader, Anna Katharina and Froese, Fabian Jintae and Kraeh, Albert, Clash of Cultures? German Expatriates' Work‐Life Boundary Adjustment in South Korea (Autumn (Fall) 2018). European Management Review, Vol. 15, Issue 3, pp. 357-374, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3289696 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/emre.12102

Anna Katharina Bader (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

Fabian Jintae Froese

Independent

Albert Kraeh

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

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