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How do German and French expatriates develop social networks?

Matthias Walther (Korn Ferry, Brussels, Belgium)
Ulrike Mayrhofer (GRM, IAE Nice, Université Côte d'Azur, Nice, France)
Noémie Dominguez (iaelyon School of Management, Magellan Research Center, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Lyon, France)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 11 January 2024

Issue publication date: 23 January 2024




This exploratory research aims to identify the types of social networks established by German and French expatriates.


The authors use the concepts of social capital and social networks, as well as the societal and cultural approaches, to investigate the way expatriates develop their social networks. The authors' empirical study is based on 40 semi-structured interviews conducted with German and French expatriates.


The authors' findings show that German expatriates mainly establish professional networks, whereas their French counterparts also focus on personal networks. They further indicate that managing social capital lies within the individual responsibility of German expatriates, whereas it is part of higher education institutions in France.


The authors highlight the way German and French expatriates manage their social networks and provide novel insights into the role played by higher education systems and the cultural characteristics of their home country context.



Walther, M., Mayrhofer, U. and Dominguez, N. (2024), "How do German and French expatriates develop social networks?", Career Development International, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 155-168.



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