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Self-enhancement and cross-cultural adjustment: overclaiming in a global mobility context

Klaus J. Templer (Klaus J Templer & Associates, Singapore, Republic of Singapore)

Journal of Global Mobility

ISSN: 2049-8799

Article publication date: 23 June 2020

Issue publication date: 25 August 2020




This study aimed to test Early and Ang’s (2003) proposition that self-enhancement hinders successful cross-cultural adjustment. The literature on self-enhancement is reviewed, and the overclaiming technique as an unobtrusive measure of self-enhancement is introduced for use in global mobility contexts.


Using the overclaiming technique, an international-cultural overclaiming test was developed. Expatriates in Singapore stated their familiarity with international-cultural knowledge items, with some of them being foil items, and rated their cross-cultural (general, interaction, work) adjustment. Supervisors rated the expatriates on their work adjustment and performance.


Overclaiming was not related to self-rated cross-cultural adjustment. However, overclaiming was negatively related to supervisor rated work adjustment and performance. Additionally, the results showed that international-cultural knowledge accuracy was positively related to self-rated general adjustment and to supervisor rated work adjustment and performance.

Research limitations/implications

The small sample size with a majority of expatriate teachers from international schools in the sample makes it necessary for the results to be replicated with larger and more varied expatriate samples.

Practical implications

While further validation is needed, this research indicates that the overclaiming technique could be a valuable tool for assessing self-enhancement in candidates for expatriate positions in order to gauge potential cross-cultural (mal)adjustment, as perceived by others.


This study was (likely) the first study that has applied the overclaiming technique in a global mobility context. An international-cultural knowledge overclaiming test is provided to academic researchers for future use.



Templer, K.J. (2020), "Self-enhancement and cross-cultural adjustment: overclaiming in a global mobility context", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 161-182.



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