The publication* comes out of a larger, longitudinal experiment, where 33 expatriates were put in touch with a local host for a period of nine months. During this time they did all kinds of activities together, ranging from dinner or drinks to visits to the city of Gouda or the Keukenhof. They were compared to a group of thirty-two expats who did not have a local host. We examined the effect of a local host on four main concepts: adjustment, performance, intercultural competence and social support.
Our study showed that contact with a local host counteracts a tendency of expatriates to decrease in Open-mindedness and Social Initiative, encouraging them to keep an open mind and take social initiatives in the Netherlands. As a result, it is a viable way for organizations to support their expatriates. Frequent interaction with locals might be a good way to appreciate the culture of the host country, which, in turn, paves the road for adjustment to the host country, for both the expatriates and their family.
Would you like to read more about the Ph.D. study about expatriate contact with a local host? Read more at www.intersango.dk/research
* Van Bakel, M. S., Gerritsen, M., & Van Oudenhoven, J.P.L.M. (2014). "Impact of a local host on the intercultural competence of expatriates." International Journal of Human Resource Management 25(14): 2050-2067.