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Expatriates adjustment and job performance: An examination of individual and organizational factors

Muhammad Awais Bhatti (School of Business Management, University Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia)
Mohamed Mohamed Battour (Faculty of Commerce, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt)
Ahmed Rageh Ismail (College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 13 September 2013




The purpose of this study is to examine the mediating effects of expatriate adjustment (work, general and interaction) between individual (previous international experience, self‐efficacy, social network and cultural sensitivity) and organizational factor (direct and indirect support) and job performance.


The data were collected from 201 expatriates working in Malaysia and analyse by using structural equation modelling (Amos‐16).


The results of the study indicated that expatriate adjustment (work, general and interaction) mediate the relationship between individual and organizational factors and expatriate performance (supervisor rated).

Research limitations/implications

The data were collected from the expatriates working in Malaysian universities. There can be differences between education industry and pure business organization in terms of working environment, selection process and management support. The respondents were citizens of different countries around the world which include Asia, Europe and Middle East. Even though Malaysia is a multicultural society and expatriates from any part of the world can find themselves in Malaysia, this research did not group the respondents in terms of their cultural differences and similarities with Malaysian culture.

Practical implications

The findings of this study suggest that human resource managers and MNC's management should provide direct and indirect support to the expatriates and their families in terms of language and cultural training, career development, logistical assistance, family mentoring, psychological counselling, job search, self‐development and social activities. Furthermore, recruitment managers and MNC's management should consider these factors before appointing any employee for international assignment. Finally, the findings of this research suggest that better expatriate performance help MNC's to perform better in their international operations which will ultimately improve the home and host country economic situation. The better performance of MNC's in their international operations through effective expatriate performance will encourage other domestic organizations to expand their operations globally.


Expatriate literature have highlighted many individual and organizational factors which affect expatriate job performance and adjustment but the role of some individual and organizational factors is still not clear and/or ignored by past researchers. For example, the role of direct and indirect support has not been well conceptualized in past studies. In addition, only a few studies have explained the importance of self‐efficacy, cultural sensitivity and social network in expatriate literature. Furthermore, role of previous international experience has generated conflicting results in past research.



Awais Bhatti, M., Mohamed Battour, M. and Rageh Ismail, A. (2013), "Expatriates adjustment and job performance: An examination of individual and organizational factors", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 62 No. 7, pp. 694-717.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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