Organisational, host country and work factors influencing a British expatriate’s adjustment on international architectural engineering and construction projects

Ashwini Konanahalli, Lukumon O. Oyedele, Jason Kyle Von Meding, John Peter Spillane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Increased globalisation within the British AEC sector has augmented the need for transferring UK nationals to manage overseas operations. To be able to perform abroad, expatriates have to harmonise themselves with the conditions prevailing in the host country which includes getting accustomed to living, working and interacting with the host country nationals. This process is commonly referred to as cross-cultural adjustment . To identify key factors influencing adjustment, a qualitative study was undertaken which mainly comprised of comprehensive literature review and interviews with organisational British expatriates within the international AEC sector. The current study explicitly focuses on exploring the role of the organization, host country and work related factors. The findings suggest that success of expatriation does not entirely rest on an expatriate's ability but also on organisational support and assistance that expats receive during and prior to the assignment. Organisational factors like, expatriate selection, job design, training, logistical and social support, mentoring etc. influence various aspects of expatriate adjustment. Cultural distance between the home and host nation salso dictates the level of support required, suggesting that expatriate relocation to less developed, remote or politically unstable regions demands additional support and consideration by the parent company. Further, AEC projects overseas are deeply influenced by the culture of the host country and operate under different set of rules and regulations which potentially affect the sojourners own adjustment to work. This study is of particular relevance to the British AEC organisations, who need to be cognizant of the issues highlighted to make rational and informed decisions when handling international assignments. A better understanding of these issues will actually provide them with valuable direction to formulate or revise strategies to ensure successful international assignments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 27th Annual ARCOM Conference
Subtitle of host publication5-7 September 2011, Bristol, UK
EditorsC. Egbu, E.C.W. Lou
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherAssociation of Researchers in Construction Management
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-0-9552390-5-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • cross-cultural adjustment
  • host country factors
  • international construction
  • organisational strategies
  • projects work related factors


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