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Title: Cross-cultural communication and the adjustment of Western and non-Western expatriates in multicultural companies : investigating operations in Oman
Author: Al Mahrouqi, Abdullah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 6895
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the state of existing knowledge on expatriate work assignments and matters of adjustment and adaptation as they affect Western, non-Western and host workers in Arab countries, specifically Oman. The main purpose of the research is to provide an integrated analysis of expatriate adjustment from the perspectives of Western and, crucially, non-Western expatriates and their host national counterparts. It offers a critical appreciation of factors included in Black, Mendenhall, and Oddou's (1991) influential Framework for International Adjustment (FIA). The thesis identifies weaknesses in the Black et al approach, drawing insights from more recent literature to consider the dynamics of cross-cultural interaction and offer a deeper understanding of reciprocal influence, accommodating the neglected viewpoints of non-Western expatriates and focusing greater attention on host national attitudes and responses to dealing with Western workers. This sort of relational approach is rare in this area, as much of the literature talks only about the Western expatriate experience. A crucial point borne out by this research is that the way host nationals and expatriates cooperate and interact helps to explain: (i) why host nationals are often reluctant to integrate with Western expatriates in particular; and (ii) how host national reluctance can influence the adjustment experience of wider expatriate communities. These neglected factors were explored by developing an understanding of the extent to which host nationals interpret differences in culture and forms of behaviour within and across multinational work groups, and also by investigating host national attitudes towards unacceptable cultural behaviour on the part of expatriates. Quantitative and qualitative data on these issues was gathered through a detailed survey, supplemented by in-depth interviewing. Semi-structured face–to-face interviews were conducted with 18 expatriates and 22 Omani managers and employees drawn from petroleum and educational institutions. The results show important differences between Western and non-Western expatriates in terms of both their sense-making about adjustment and attitudes and orientations to working with host national Omanis. The research also highlights significant challenges for the cultural adjustment and workplace effectiveness of host nationals themselves. These centre on competing ideas about the significance of religion, customs, traditions, and gender segregation. Cultural novelty emerges as a significant phenomenon, showing positive links to cultural (social) and work adjustment. The analysis of these factors demonstrates that Western-centric accounts provide an inadequate basis for understanding and facilitating multinational work assignments in Oman.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management