Riding the waves of culture: an empirical study on acclimatization of expatriates in IT industry


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The forces of globalization and subsequent trade across the borders have necessitated the firms to have their presence across the globe to meet the needs of their customers. The employees or expatriates will be sent on assignment to different countries for a period of time ranging from few weeks, months to years. This sudden exposure to the different environment not only makes these expatriates vulnerable to cultural shocks, but also may significantly affect their job performance. Their failure to acclimatize to the foreign conditions will not only hurt the confidence, career and life of the expatriate, but it will also cost a lot to the company. The present paper aims to understand of the process of expatriate adjustment in the Indian Information Technology (IT) industry by examining demographic variables and few organizational variables of expatriate’s adjustment process. A structured questionnaire was distributed to the expatriate employees working in 50 IT companies in the Silicon city, Bengaluru. The study uses Chi-square test and linear regression for testing the hypotheses and found that there is a significant influence of demographic variables like gender, work experience and length of assignment on acclimatization of expatriates to their host country culture. The findings of the study proved that there is a significant relationship between demographic variables and the cultural acceptance of the expatriates. Hence, it is suggested that multinational companies should create an enabling environment within the organizations to make international assignees compatible and comfortable with different cultural values and inculcate cultural acceptance to make them successful in their international assignments.

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    • Figure 1. Dependent and independent variables
    • Table 1. Number of expatriates from each nationality
    • Table 2. Cross tabulation between gender and acclimatization period
    • Table 3. Cross tabulation between work experience and acclimatization period
    • Table 4. Impact of area of work on acclimatization of expatriates
    • Table 5. Impact of length of assignment on acclimatization of expatriates
    • Table 6. Impact of career support practices on acclimatization of expatriates