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Title: Understanding culture shock : the adjustment of expatriate sojourners on international assignment
Author: Fitzpatrick, John Francis
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 360X
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2016
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Expatriate sojourners are often described as experiencing “culture shock” when moving to and settling in a new location. This study challenges the notion of “culture” as a tangible, objective concept that causes a “shock” or a “clash” and argues that it is how individuals and groups deal with the macro socio-political context and micro-cultural situations on a day to day basis that influences how they experience their new environment. In this sense, context is seen as a multidimensional framework for social interaction and adjustment, and this study examines the role that different discourses or worldviews play in interpreting daily life in Cuba, a highly politically sensitive and insular location. Using participant observation techniques, the researcher builds up a rich ethnographic “thick-description” of the daily challenges that international sojourners face when adjusting to a new environment in a particularly challenging location, and, by drawing on accounts of how individuals see the challenges they face and what helps them adapt, describes adjustment as a multi-faceted phenomenon. What is highlighted are the various types of challenges that sojourners experience and the pressures that people and families experience in adapting to new roles in unfamiliar working and living environments. A model for sojourner adjustment is then proposed based on a study of the various social networks that expatriate groups create, and the type and level of personal and institutional resources and social support that might influence adjustment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available