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Purpose – Sets out to argue that training and adjustment strategies based on immersion in a foreign culture, in order to reduce expatriate culture shock, can be improved…
Purpose – Sets out to argue that training and adjustment strategies based on immersion in a foreign culture, in order to reduce expatriate culture shock, can be improved by training that addresses how to use related ethnic networks within the host country. Design/methodology/approach – A framework used for the examination of the cultural adjustment process of long‐term migrants is used to draw implications for the adjustment process of expatriates. The components of analysis include the U‐curve, social learning theory, and oral deprivation. How long‐term arrivals overcome their culture shock is extended to a discussion of expatriates, their problems, and the need for further areas of training. Findings – Significant similarities in the adjustment problems of the two groups point to similar processes in operation and the potential to apply similar solutions to ease the expatriate adjustment process. Research limitation/implications – The study draws from findings in one discipline area and argues by analogy to the field of international human resource management. Implications of this extension include a widening of expatriate training to include greater awareness of host country ethnic networks and how they can be a useful adjustment resource. Practical implications – Expatriate worker failure is common and costly. While there is considerable emphasis on the technical competency of expatriates, social competency is critical but often neglected. Measures to reduce such social failure that focus on reducing the culture shock encountered, need to be examined carefully. This paper has suggested one approach drawing from an analogous situation. Originality/value – The paper links specific elements of the marketing literature dealing with arrivals from a different culture with the expatriate adjustment problem of international human resource management.