UK expatriate's skills and competencies influencing their cross-cultural adjustment on international architectural engineering and construction assignments

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

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


The UK AEC industry has long been associated with migration of managers to execute international operations. These foreign assignments bring in a lot of excitement to the expatriates along with conditions of distress. This could be in various forms like, cultural shock, language barriers, separation from family etc. Most of the failures associated with expatriation find their genesis in expatriate‘s inability to adjust to the host country.

Thus, the current trends within the globalised AEC industry require the expatriate to have a good cross-cultural understanding and certain specific skills to facilitate adjustment and successful completion of the project. These competencies/skills play a huge role in terms of how well an expatriate is able to understand the host country environment and adapt themselves accordingly. This study therefore, aims to contribute towards understanding the adjustment process of an UK
expatriate by reviewing studies and conducting detailed interviews with expatriates from the AEC sector.

The findings reveal that the varying standards, working practices and ethics across nations, require the expatriates to be competent, well equipped and knowledgeable enough to train the locals on standard practices. Along with technical skills, it is the people management skills and the knowledge of local issues that are crucial when managing foreign workforce.

This study has implications for both the expatriates and the organizations. From the organization‘s point, a good understanding of the issues highlighted will assist them in selecting the right individual to ensuring successful execution and completion of the project. Whereas from the expatriate‘s perspective, it helps them to appreciate the relevant issues and secure successful expatriation and its associated benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCOBRA 2011 Proceedings of RICS Construction and Property Conference
Subtitle of host publication12-13 September 2011, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford
EditorsLes Ruddock, Paul Chynoweth, Charles Egbu, Monty Sutrisna, Ali Parsa
Place of PublicationSalford
PublisherRoyal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-1-907842-19-1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • expatriate adjustment
  • expatriation
  • international construction projects
  • expatriate skills and competencies


Dive into the research topics of 'UK expatriate's skills and competencies influencing their cross-cultural adjustment on international architectural engineering and construction assignments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this