Title: Do Italian expatriates adapt to different cultural contexts? Some evidence from South Mediterranean countries

Authors: Adriana Calvelli; Chiara Cannavale; Rossella Canestrino

Addresses: Università degli Studi di Napoli Parthenope, DISA, Via Medina, 40, I-80133 Napoli, Italy. ' Università degli Studi di Napoli Parthenope, DISA, Via Medina, 40, I-80133 Napoli, Italy. ' Università degli Studi di Napoli Parthenope, DISA, Via Medina, 40, I-80133 Napoli, Italy

Abstract: This study explores Italian expatriates' inclination to adapt to different cultural contexts, such as Southern Mediterranean countries (SMCs). In emerging countries, expatriates play a very important role: they control the activities delocalised in the host market, they monitor the market, and they overcome the lack of qualified employees. However, cultural differences can limit expatriates' results. When the home and the host culture are too distant, communication between headquarters and subsidiaries becomes difficult, and performances in the host market can be limited by a different work philosophy and by local employees' reluctance to accept foreign managers' knowledge. Expatriates' capability to adapt becomes consequently very important. This is the case of Italian expatriates assigned to SMCs. The capability to understand local culture and to respect diversity is crucial to build profitable relationships. Considering the observations above, our paper explores Italian managers' capability to understand distant behaviour, and to adapt to different levels of performance orientation and assertiveness.

Keywords: cultural adaptation; Italian expats; expatriates; performance orientation; assertiveness; culture; cultural differences; diversity; Southern Mediterranean.

DOI: 10.1504/EJCCM.2012.047088

European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management, 2012 Vol.2 No.2, pp.117 - 132

Available online: 25 May 2012 *

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