The family as a developmental issue in expatriate assignments

Irene Chiotis‐Leskowich (Lecturer based at Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Publication date: 2 October 2009



The purpose of this article is to highlight the central role of family adjustment in expatiate effectiveness, and presents it as a developmental issue.


Literature reviews were used to create this article.


Though family adjustment appears among the top reasons for expatriate assignment failure, the family as an interdependent system is regularly overlooked in expatriate preparation. This paper offers a family systems perspective and developmental techniques for expatriate family preparation.

Practical implications

More focused attention to the family system in expatriate assignments – as learning and development issue, rather than a “managed” corporate issue – may well address much of the cause of expatriate failure.


While existing literature concerning expatriate failure is increasingly extensive, very little of it attends to family system concerns and issues. Moreover, none of the literature treats family adjustment as a phenomenon for developmental activity.



Chiotis‐Leskowich, I. (2009), "The family as a developmental issue in expatriate assignments", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 4-7.

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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