Lily Jiao Li

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Previous research on expatriate management has mainly focused on expatriate adjustment to a new environment. However, expatriate effectiveness, a pertinent issue for both organizations and individuals, has not been examined in depth. In addition, few studies have focused on the role of social networks in expatriate management. This dissertation addresses two issues arising from related gaps in the existing literature on expatriate management: the components of expatriate effectiveness, and the impact of expatriate social networks. An empirical study was also conducted to test the influence of social networks, which provide cultural information and social support, on expatriate effectiveness.

In order to examine expatriate assignments from different perspectives, a multi-dimensional concept of expatriate effectiveness was proposed as including four indicators: psychological well-being, job satisfaction, job performance and subsidiary performance. These four indicators measured expatriate assignment outcomes from the perspectives of both organizations and individuals.

To explore the role of expatriate social networks, this study categorized expatriate social networks based on the network contacts’ nationalities. Therefore, the impact of both an expatriate’s host and home national networks were examined. The results from a survey of expatriates showed that a larger


social network comprised of host nationals and with more frequent contacts with host nationals tended to give the expatriate more social support, and the closeness of host national networks was positively related to both the exchange of cultural information and social support. Furthermore, expatriates receiving more cultural information reported higher job performance, and expatriates experiencing more

social support showed higher levels of job performance and job satisfaction.

The theoretical and practical implications for the findings are discussed, as well as the limitations o f the study and recommendations for future research.



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