Why do female expatriates “fit‐in” better than males?

Nina Cole (Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Yvonne McNulty (School of Business, James Cook University, Singapore)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Publication date: 3 May 2011



The purpose of the paper is to assess the relevance of the personal value called self‐transcendence as an explanatory factor regarding gender differences in the socio‐cultural adjustment of expatriate employees.


A sample of 37 male and 31 female expatriates responded to an online questionnaire concerning their self‐transcendence value and their adjustment as expatriate employees.


Self‐transcendence of the expatriate predicted interactional and work adjustment. Perceived expatriate‐local difference in self‐transcendence was a negative predictor of work and interactional adjustment. Females had higher (non‐significant) self‐transcendence than males. Further gender differences in the impact of self‐transcendence and perceived expatriate‐local differences in self‐transcendence were found.

Research limitations/implications

Further research into the effect of expatriate levels of the personal value of self‐transcendence, its two components, universalism and benevolence, and gender differences therein appears warranted. Statistical techniques to establish causality should be used.

Practical implications

Knowledge regarding the self‐transcendence values of candidates for expatriate assignments may assist global human resource managers to make more effective selection decisions regarding expatriate assignments.


The study described in this paper is among the first to assess potential explanations for the better interactional and work adjustment of female expatriates compared to males. This study replicates earlier findings regarding the relationship between perceived expatriate‐local differences in self‐transcendence and expatriate socio‐cultural adjustment and provides new knowledge regarding gender differences in this relationship.



Cole, N. and McNulty, Y. (2011), "Why do female expatriates “fit‐in” better than males?", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 144-164. https://doi.org/10.1108/13527601111125996

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