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Title: Understanding how voluntary expatriates working in SMEs in Germany, perceive, make sense of and respond to their new cultural context
Author: Flynn, C. F. W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 7540
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2015
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Addressing the gap in the literature surrounding the acculturation of expatriates, the research seeks to understand how voluntary expatriates, who work in SMEs in Germany, perceive, make sense of and respond to their new cultural context. Implementing an overarching grounded theory approach, semi-structured interviews supported using additional probing questions, were carried out with 19 individuals from different backgrounds, working for varying companies and of mixed ages and genders. Focus groups were used to investigate the theoretical saturation achieved and the substantive grounded theories obtained through the interviews. The narratives obtained were analysed using a four level inductive analysis framework under implementation of the constant comparative method. The research provided insights into contextual factors affecting individuals' sensemaking processes and the importance of identity work as a mechanism for palliating cognitive dissonance perceived during the sensemaking process. Further, the research findings indicated a plausible dependency between previous experience accumulated and an individual's expectations of the current assignment. An overall model was developed that explains how narrative resources, drawn from the contextual factors, are developed by respondents into meaning and identity forming narratives, framed on mythical archetypes, that help build upon, or palliate, their situations, and which in turn contribute to the success of failure of the assignment. In addition, the research contributed to the extension of research methods, demonstrating the benefit of retrospective narratives to investigate sensemaking activities and the cultural adaptation of individuals in organisations over standard questionnaires and standardised interviews. The rich data obtained provided the researcher with a more holistic understanding of the individual, his or her sensemaking processes and the overarching themes and theories.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available