expat network

Help A Study Into Expat Assignment Failure

Lili Castille approached us to promote her study looking into the factors that impact on adjusting to a new culture and the causes expat assignee failure.  This is an opportunity to share your experience as an expat to help this study.  Here she sets out the background.

Hello! I’m Lili Castille, a multicultural polyglot and lifelong learner. Originally from Los Angeles, my educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Master’s in both Psychology and Education, and now I am pursuing a doctorate in Psychology. My specializations are Cultural and Organizational Psychology.

As an expatriate, I have worked in academic and business settings for more than 30 years in nearly as many countries. During this time, I have noted a curious phenomenon: There has been a high turnover rate among expatriate employees, with many quitting before completion of their contracts. In fact, statistics show that “expat failure” has been increasing at an alarming rate over the last 4 decades. More and more organizationally – assigned expats (those who are company-sponsored) as well as self-initiated expats (those who move overseas of their own volition and are hired locally) are quitting their host country jobs early, costing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in relocation, re-assignment, retraining and recruitment fees.

This study investigates the issue from different perspectives: Why do some expats stay longer in a host country? Why do some become more easily adjusted to another culture? Does it depend on resilience or personal orientation? Do other factors such as nationality or age play a role? This study seeks to find out if there is an interaction among these factors.

One of the benefits of this study is that it may provide information on expatriate/host country compatibility. The published findings may be used as guidelines for self-initiated expats to determine their most suitable host countries. Moreover, the information may aid organizations in recruiting and assigning employees to the best matched countries. Country and culture compatibility may be a solution for improving life satisfaction and job performance, thereby increasing the likelihood that the expatriate employee will remain for the duration of their contract.


Here is the link to the Expatriate Adjustment survey and we would appreciate your participation in the study.