RESEARCH ASSOCIATION FOR TRANSNATIONAL NETWORKING - SUCCESS BY INTERCULTURAL RISK MANAGEMENT
The role of providing employees on foreign assignment in small and medium-sized companies with social support
Field of work:Social support and private networks on foreign assignment
This project focuses on the private networks, family members and friends, of employees sent on foreign assignment by small and medium-sized companies. Previous research showed that families are a critical factor in the success or failure of a foreign sojourn: in many cases the foreign sojourn is terminated if the family members have difficulties in adjusting to the foreign culture, resulting in extensive costs for the firm. Many research projects have dealt with providing employees with social support in various contexts (families, friends, work). Social support postulates positive environmental factors that neutralize, respectively reduce, the stress effects, respectively have a positive effect, on health and well-being, independent of the actual stressor constellations. Thus, on the one hand, social support is ascribed a positive function in coping with stress (“puffer function”). On the other hand, it is important in a prophylactic sense, to prevent illness and therefore represents an individual contribution to risk management. Interviews of employees on foreign assignment following specific guidelines should determine the problem areas of the support and the networking in a foreign assignment. These interviews serve as a basis to draft a standardized questioning instrument to question employees of small and medium-sized companies on foreign assignment at three intervals: shortly before the sojourn, during the sojourn and after the sojourn. From the results, we expect to discern the role that private networks can play and to draw recommendations on how to act for future foreign assignments.