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Expatriate Social Network Formation in Denmark: Challenges of Developing Informal Ties Locally

Marian van Bakel (Syddansk Universitet, Denmark)

Informal Networks in International Business

ISBN: 978-1-83982-879-9, eISBN: 978-1-83982-878-2

Publication date: 5 August 2022


Many expatriates have difficulty building a social network that includes locals in Denmark, and they often find themselves in an “expatriate bubble” where they meet mostly with other expatriates. This is unfortunate because much culture learning can be gleaned from interacting with host country nationals, and a lack of contact can negatively influence expatriate well-being and satisfaction. This chapter first focuses on how expatriates build a social network when they are abroad. Interviews with five self-initiated expatriates show key factors that influence the building of a social network, such as attitude and motivation, similarities with the other, location, and cultural differences. Denmark, in particular, seems to be a difficult place to make local friends, compared to many other countries globally. Three main cultural characteristics might explain this difficulty: the homogeneity of Denmark in terms of culture and language, the value of equality that is engrained in Danish mentality, and Denmark being a specific and deal-focused culture. The chapter ends with recommendations for expatriates who do wish to connect with Danes.



van Bakel, M. (2022), "Expatriate Social Network Formation in Denmark: Challenges of Developing Informal Ties Locally", Horak, S. (Ed.) Informal Networks in International Business, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 181-198.



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