Understanding how voluntary expatriates working in SMEs in Germany, perceive, make sense of and respond to their new cultural context

Flynn, C.F.W., 2015. Understanding how voluntary expatriates working in SMEs in Germany, perceive, make sense of and respond to their new cultural context. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Flynn, C.F.W.
Date: August 2015
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed in the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 26 May 2016 11:27
Last Modified: 26 May 2016 11:27
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/27895

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