Cross-Cultural Challenges and Adjustments Among Expatriates in Malaysia
Mohd Tahir, Aida Hafitah (2001) Cross-Cultural Challenges and Adjustments Among Expatriates in Malaysia. Masters thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
The globalization process focuses on the transformation of the economic environment worldwide. Malaysia in this new global era has opened its market to free trade and foreign investments in order to achieve its Vision 2020 of becoming an industrialized nation. As a result of this new advancement, more expatriates are sent to Malaysia every year to help the process of technology transfer internationally and to maintain the quality of the products generated in this country. With the new environment, expatriates are bound to face challenges and to make adjustments in their lifestyles. As such, a study was conducted with the objectives of understanding the meaning of expatriates' experiences in terms of cross-cultural challenges and to understand how they got adjusted staying in Malaysia. This study applies the qualitative research methodology. The data were collected through interviews of sixteen expatriates as informants for the study and who are currently working in Malaysia. The interviews were conducted by using an interview guide. These interviews were recorded and later transcribed. The results of the study indicated that the informants faced with the following challenges with regard to a) attitudes of Malaysians, b) the custom and the religious issues, c) addressing social status d) gender issues, e) Malaysian working habits, and f) cross-cultural training programs.As a result of these challenges the study pointed out that, the expatriates adapted to the situations through the following adjustments: a) acquiring more cultural knowledge regarding Malaysia, b) using the knowledge of previous experiences in the host country, c) becoming more tolerant and optimistic about the people and the new environment, d) establishing strong support system from own organization, friends and family members. In conclusion, it is therefore suggested, future programmes of expatriates in Malaysia can be improved by having more intellectual discourse regarding cross-cultural issues and organizing concise and systematic cross-cultural training sessions in order to create awareness of the cultural differences among the participants of foreign assignments to Malaysia. It is hoped that such efforts will achieve a win-win situation for the expatriate's country of origin and the host country.
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