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Title: Female expatriate manager experiences in the UK and Russia : factors leading to expatriate failure in international assignments
Author: Kuller, Claudia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 9945
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2014
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German multinational corporations (MNCs) delegate expatriates to their foreign subsidiaries to control important markets and ensure the growth of foreign activities. MNCs expect the best possible performance of expatriate managers in a different cultural setting that often presents unfamiliar working environments as well as social and economic contrasts. Such international assignments do not always end in success. Failed international transfers to foreign operations continue to challenge MNCs, due to the substantial costs associated with expatriate managers' premature returns. Previous studies on expatriate failure have focused extensively on American expatriates assigned to various foreign destinations, often from an organisational perspective and with a bias for quantitative methods. Qualitative research on European expatriate managers remains scarce. This investigation focuses on German female expatriate managers assigned to two popular, yet culturally different, European expatriation destinations - the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation. In response to the growing number of women who choose to accept expatriation, German female expatriate failure in international assignments is the focus of the research presented here. Qualitative, in-depth research methods are used to explore the personal experiences of a select sample of five former expatriates assigned to each of the two host countries on long-term international assignments. Narratives from the in-depth interviews provide rich descriptions from the German female employee perspective of the entire expatriation cycle, from initial selection and preparation to the actual assignment period and repatriation. Factors contributing to the decision to withdraw from the international assignments in both culturally diverse host countries are then compared. The results for both groups show that expatriate failure is a cumulation of various factors independent from culture, including multiple missed opportunities to properly prepare for adapting to a new culture. Furthermore, the findings suggest that “expatriate failure”, as a descriptive term, is likely to be too narrowly focused on the expatriate managers, as they are not necessarily solely responsible for the failure in the international assignments. The findings presented here have implications both for German MNCs assigning female expatriates to subsidiaries in the UK and Russia, and for current and future expatriate managers with positions in these countries. Overall, the findings of this investigation reveal new knowledge and opportunities to help improve the success of international assignments for both the expatriate manager and the employing organisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available