Adjustment challenges of South African expatriates working in Africa

Dhrampal, Sharmintha
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With globalisation, expatriate assignments to developing locations such as Africa are increasing. The purpose of this research was to investigate the adjustment challenges of South African expatriates working in Africa and used a qualitative methodology. It is based on the Black, Mendenhall and Oddou (1991) framework of international adjustment and applied to an African context. The findings indicate that expatriates experienced adjustment challenges with regard to adapting to local living conditions, ability of family to adjust to new environment, adapting to a new culture and language, interacting effectively with host country nationals, lack of support from organisation, adapting to work related challenges, inadequate preparation prior to departure and had crime, corruption and security concerns. The study found that Pre-departure preparation, organisational support, family-spouse challenges, cross-cultural training, interacting with host country nationals, adapting to a foreign culture and language are all general aspects that expatriates have had adjustment challenges with. However, South African expatriates working in Africa, expatriates faced many location difficulties in one or more of a following areas: limited housing options, limited education options, rudimentary medical facilities, climate and physical conditions, Infrastructure, communications, disease and sanitation, physical remoteness, political and social environment, recreation facilities, availability of goods and services, heightened exposure to bribery and corruption, crime, safety and security issues. Expatriates face intensely challenging living conditions and quality of life issues. South African companies need to have a greater appreciation for the conditions endured by expatriates in African countries and offer better support.
MBA thesis
Ex-patriates, Africa and employment, Employment