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      Expatriate academics' adjustment experience at a higher education institution in South Africa

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          Abstract

          ORIENTATION: Expatriate academics in higher education institutions (HEIs) face several socio-cultural and integration challenges that significantly influence their adjustment. Insufficient support and a non-conducive environment hamper their well-being. RESEARCH PURPOSE: This study aims to describe the adjustment experiences of expatriate academics at a HEI in South Africa. Recommendations are made towards creating an enabling environment in which expatriate academics can better facilitate adjustment. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: This study aimed to compete globally, HEIs appoint international academics with scarce skills to enhance their teaching, learning, and research. Expatriate academics are driven by push and pull factors when accepting international opportunities. Entering an unfamiliar environment, implies disruption on a psychosocial, socio-economic and job adjustment level, and if not well-supported results in maladjustment affecting expatriate well-being and job performance. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: An interpretive, qualitative approach was adopted. Five purposively selected expatriate academics partook in semi-structured interviews and the data were analysed through content analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: A lack of employer support and cultural diversity factors impede participants' ability to adjust at work and in the community. Having grit and being resourceful in overcoming challenges resulted in better adjustment. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Facilitating collaborative relationships between expatriates and host country nationals, and using supportive services and resources will enable better adjustment. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: Expatriate academics share their lived experiences of what hindered their adjustment and several recommendations are made to HEIs and foreign academics towards creating an enabling environment promoting adjustment.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                acom
                Acta Commercii
                Acta Commer.
                University of Johannesburg (Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa )
                2413-1903
                1684-1999
                2024
                : 24
                : 1
                : 1-10
                Affiliations
                [01] Pretoria orgnameUniversity of South Africa orgdiv1College of Economic and Management Sciences orgdiv2Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology South Africa
                Article
                S1684-19992024000100006 S1684-1999(24)02400100006
                10.4102/ac.v24i1.1210
                586ba476-3389-47c5-b779-82f7325f35b7

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

                History
                : 29 February 2024
                : 28 August 2023
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 46, Pages: 10
                Product

                SciELO South Africa

                Categories
                Original Research

                expatriate academics,interpretivism,host country nationals,job demands-resources,socialisation,higher education institution,cultural-diversity,adjustment

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