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Perceived corporate training investment as a driver of expatriate adjustment


Hyounae Min, Vincent P. Magnini and Manisha Singal
Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

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Received 21 May 2012 Revised 10 September 2012 12 December 2012 8 January 2013 Abstract Accepted 19 January 2013

Purpose Whether expatriate cross-cultural training programs signicantly inuence expatriate adjustment has been debated for more than two decades. The purpose of this paper is to examine a pivotal variable not yet addressed in the literature: the expatriates perceptions of the employers investment in the training (termed perceived corporate training investment: PCTI). Design/methodology/approach Completed surveys were collected from 71 hotel expatriate managers stationed around the globe. Findings When an expatriate manager perceives that his/her companys investment in expatriate training (PCTI) exceeds industry standards, it leads to enhanced work adjustment. Interestingly, PCTI is also found to signicantly inuence the expatriates general adjustment in the foreign culture. A rms organizational learning climate mediates the relationship between PCTI and both forms of adjustment (work and general). Research limitations/implications It could prove informative for future research to model additional variables in these relationships, such as an expatriates spousal support. Practical implications These ndings suggest that rms should not only invest in expatriate training, but should also communicate to their expatriates the extent and importance that they assign to investment in training to foster a positive learning climate that in turn improves adjustment. Originality/value This research is the rst to examine perceived corporate training investment (PCTI). Since PCTI is found to ultimately inuence an expatriates work adjustment and general adjustment, it is a key variable that should be considered by multinational hotel rms. Keywords Hotel and catering industry, Multinational companies, Managers, Expatriates, Training, Expatriate adjustment, Expatriate training, Hotel expatriate, Organizational learning climate Paper type Research paper

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management Vol. 25 No. 5, 2013 pp. 740-759 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0959-6119 DOI 10.1108/IJCHM-May-2012-0079

Introduction Most multinational hotel rms offer cross-cultural training for their expatriates (Magnini, 2009). Such training is conducted because the roles of these expatriate managers are critical to rm success: expatriates act as a bridge between the parent company and the international location. Despite cross-cultural training, premature departures from foreign assignments due to lack of adjustment among hotel expatriates are high (Avril and Magnini, 2007). Thus, an increasingly large body of research questions the effectiveness of expatriate cross-cultural training (Hu et al., 2002; Puck et al., 2008). In other words, is there a signicant link between cross-cultural training and expatriate adjustment, or are there other intervening processes that may connect training to adjustment? Contrary to research emphasizing the importance of expatriate training, some studies have found that expatriate training may not provide a signicant benet for expatriate

adjustment. Specically, some empirical research shows that there is no signicant difference in the level of expatriate adjustment between expatriates with and without cross-cultural training (Hu et al., 2002; Puck et al., 2008). That is, the expatriates who have completed a training program often do not have a higher level of adjustment in the new environment compared to those expatriates without cross-cultural training. With any sort of training, the degree to which the training content is applied upon completion is termed training transfer (Saks and Belcourt, 2006). Research indicates that training transfer is more likely to occur if the trainee perceives that the organization is genuinely committed to the training initiative (Tracey et al., 1995). Anchored with theories and empirical ndings from several streams of research, the purpose of this research is to investigate how an expatriate managers perception of the companys investment in expatriate training (termed perceived corporate training investment (PCTI)) inuences his/her work and general adjustment. Therefore, this research develops and tests a model in which PCTI inuences the expatriates perceptions of organizational learning climate which, in turn, enhances work and general adjustment. To accomplish this intended purpose, the literature review employs theories and empirical ndings from the expatriate adjustment, training transfer, and organizational learning bodies of literature to anchor a series of hypotheses. Following the literature review, this paper details the data collection procedures, analyses, and results of a survey completed by 71 current hotel expatriate managers. Finally, research and managerial implications are presented. Literature review and hypothesis development Expatriate adjustment The importance of cross-cultural adjustment has been a focus in studies investigating expatriate managers. Inability of expatriate managers to adjust to new environments is documented as the major cause of expatriate failure because working in a foreign country involves not only adjusting to a new work environment but also adjusting to the environment outside of work (Black et al., 1991; Hechanova et al., 2003). Dened as a measure of the degree to which expatriates are psychologically comfortable with the new environment (Black et al., 1991; Black, 1988), expatriate adjustment can encompass work adjustment and non-work (general) adjustment. General adjustment is the level of comfort regarding general living conditions such as food, weather, housing and transportation (Black, 1988). Work adjustment refers to psychological comfort related to the new work environment such as different work values, expectations, and job responsibilities (Black, 1988). Expatriate adjustment is an essential aspect of success for a multinational rm since the level of adjustment is positively related to expatriate performance which has positive effects on the rms competitive advantage, resulting from reinforcing local relations, understanding of local needs, and increasing valuable learning outcomes in organizations (Harrison and Shaffer, 2005; Hechanova et al., 2003; Ozdemir and Cizel, 2007). Also, job satisfaction is positively correlated to overall adjustment (Takeuchi et al., 2002) while psychological anxiety is negatively correlated to overall adjustment (Hechanova et al., 2003). Numerous studies, as a result, have investigated identifying factors inuencing expatriate adjustment; expatriate training being one important antecedent (Earley and Mosakowski, 2004).

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Expatriate training Recently attention has focused on training programs as a method to improve the effectiveness of expatriates since the knowledge and skills of an organization have become crucial to remain competitive in the present business environment (Tharenou et al., 2007). Studies have emphasized an appropriate expatriate selection procedure as a way of identifying the right person for the position, and, more importantly, implementing a series of training programs, for both the expatriate and their family members, thus improving expatriate adjustment (Avril and Magnini, 2007; Magnini and Honeycutt, 2003; Tung, 1987). However, although cross-cultural training is widely used ndings regarding the effectiveness of training programs are contradictory. Earley and Mosakowski (2004) argue that a lack of knowledge regarding cultural differences among expatriate managers leads to poor adjustment, which may eventually harm the organization, and thus, training programs are recommended to increase expatriates knowledge regarding different cultures. In addition, expatriate training has also been proposed as a means of inuencing the general level of adjustment (Black and Mendenhall, 1990). More specically, a number of studies suggest that by providing a series of cross-cultural training programs, organizations can increase expatriate adjustment and reduce the cost of failed international assignments (Rita et al., 2000; Yavas and Bodur, 1999). For example, pre-departure training programs implemented by the parent company can reduce difculties encountered during the employment transition and ease the expatriates adjustment in new living conditions (Yavas and Bodur, 1999). Basic information about the country that the individual is sent should be provided, followed by a cultural awareness program (Tung, 1987). From these pre-departure training programs, the employee and the family members would be exposed to factual information, such as the historical, political, and religious factors and major cultural differences which can help them to have a better understanding of the destination country. However, numerous studies indicate that lack of time prior to departure impedes the effectiveness of pre-departure training and that training programs upon arrival are more effective (Mendenhall and Stahl, 2000; Rita et al., 2000). Upon arrival, cross-cultural training programs are suggested to be performed by the host afliates (Magnini and Honeycutt, 2003; Yavas and Bodur, 1999). In a study of expatriate managers in Turkey the authors explain a company should focus on the values, beliefs, habits, religion, languages of Turkish operations (Yavas and Bodur, 1999). The most commonly used training method is classroom training which is offered for a few weeks after expatriates arrive in the destination country. Expatriates are brought together in a classroom to learn the appropriate behavior in the different cultural environment (Rita et al., 2000). In-class training is efcient, offering practical training methods, such as role-playing, where expatriates can experience hypothetical cultural scenarios. However, the time and cost necessary to implement such programs are limitations. As a result, CD-ROM programs are an emerging resource for expatriate cross-cultural training as an alternative to classroom training (Magnini and Honeycutt, 2003). The major benets of the CD-ROM programs are: . it is possible to assemble groups of expatriates in a single classroom; . individuals can work with the program at their own speed; and . it is cost-effective.

Real-time training has been proposed as another training method (Magnini and Honeycutt, 2003; Mendenhall and Stahl, 2000). Real-time training refers to the practice in which an expatriate gets advice and information from various resources. The concept of personal coaching introduced in Germany in the mid-1980s is the basis for real-time training and has becoming an emerging management technique in the USA and the UK (Mendenhall and Stahl, 2000). Expatriates use various forms of real-time training to improve their communication skills, leadership, and problem solving skills. Common sources of real-time training are internet chat-rooms, repatriates, other more experienced expatriates, local nationals, and materials provided by the company (Magnini, 2009). The effects of PCTI on expatriate adjustment Contrary to research emphasizing the importance of expatriate training, studies have also found that expatriate training may not provide a signicant benet for expatriate adjustment. Some empirical research shows that there is not much difference in the level of expatriate adjustment between expatriates with and without cross-cultural training (Hu et al., 2002; Puck et al., 2008). That is, the expatriates who have completed a training program often do not have a higher level of adjustment in the new environment compared to those expatriates without cross-cultural training. Morris and Robie (2001) conduct a meta-analysis of 16 studies (total n 2,270) to see if cross-cultural training has a signicant inuence on expatriate psychological comfort. The results from the meta-analysis demonstrate that the effectiveness of cross-cultural training is weaker than expected despite the wide use of cross-cultural training. The discrepancies in the ndings reported in existing literature reinforce the need to investigate other approaches that may inuence expatriate adjustment. The issue of whether expatriate training is effective in aiding adjustment pertains to whether the trainee will apply the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes gained in the training. The degree to which these applications occur is called training transfer (Saks and Belcourt, 2006). Research indicates that in order for training transfer to transpire, the trainees must genuinely believe that the organization supports and believes in the usefulness of the training (Tracey et al., 1995). Emerging studies empirically demonstrate that all management actions send signals to employees that inuence their behaviors (Baldwin and Magjuka, 1991; Santos and Stuart, 2003). More specically, investment in training is a powerful signaling mechanism to communicate that the trainees are valued and that the training content is valued by the rm (Santos and Stuart, 2003). Therefore, if an expatriate perceives that his/her rm has a heavy investment in his/her training and that this investment exceeds the norms practiced in the industry (high PCTI) then s/he will be more prone to apply the concepts from the training during the expatriate assignment. In other words, if a strong investment is perceived, then training transfer will be more likely to occur. The conceptualization of PCTI is derived from the extant literature. Investment in employees by the employer as perceived by employees has been demonstrated to have positive outcomes in several prior studies. Tsui et al. (1999), found that employees performed better on core tasks, displayed higher affective commitment and higher citizenship behavior when they perceived overinvestment by the employer in the employer-employee relationship. Similarly, Allen et al.s (2003) study suggests that perceived organization support specically via training for growth opportunities,

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results in employee attitudes that eventually lead to organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Perceived investment in employee development also leads to generalized social exchange perception which is positively related to task performance and citizenship behavior (Kuvaas and Dysvik, 2009). We submit that employees perception of corporate training investment is part of the larger perception of organization support for expatriate managers and therefore will lead to better adjustment outcomes. It is commonly accepted in the academic literature that individuals possess perceptions of industry norms or standards (Bone and Corey, 2000; Choi and Mattila, 2009; Hunt and Vitell, 1992; Wirtz and Kimes, 2007). Studies in the areas of ethical behavior (Hunt and Vitell, 1992), product packaging (Bone and Corey, 2000), and revenue management (Choi and Mattila, 2009; Wirtz and Kimes, 2007) have all been founded upon the notion that individuals (consumers and managers) can report their perceptions of industry standards. Thus, the PCTI construct in the current study is also founded upon the notion that expatriates can compare the training investment of their rm with their perceived industry norms. As stated above, in order for training to change behavior (i.e. training transfer) the trainees must genuinely believe that the organization supports and believes in the usefulness of the training (Tracey et al., 1995). High PCTI, therefore, plays a critical role in this training transfer. As shown in Figure 1, since expatriate training programs address topics associated with both work adjustment and adjustment to the host country in general (general adjustment), PCTI should enhance training transfer in both work and general adjustment areas. Again, perceived training investment signals the importance of the content to the expatriate, ultimately enhancing content transfer. Based upon this logic, the following predictions are offered: H1a. The expatriates perceptions of corporate training investment (PCTI) will positively inuence his/her work adjustment. H1b. The expatriates perceptions of corporate training investment (PCTI) will positively inuence his/her general adjustment. Organizational learning climate as a mediator between PCTI and expatriate adjustment As the aggregated individuals perception of the work environment, the concept of organizational climate is widely investigated in the literature (James et al., 2008). Research indicates that organizational-level values can increase the organizational-level of performance (Baker and Sinkula, 1999) as well as the

Figure 1. Concept model: mediating effect PCTI ! organizational learning climate ! work/general adjustment

individual-level of performance (Harrison and Shaffer, 2005). For example, Rashid et al. (2004) argue that facets of an organizations climate can inuence individual-level attitudes and behaviors which are positively related to performance. Moreover, a positive organizational climate can encourage employees to become more motivated, thereby increasing their overall performance (Sinkula et al., 1997). Since the nature of international assignments may take managers away from their comfort zones and hamper consistent performance with high motivation (Forster, 1994), the inuence of organizational climate and support on expatriate adjustment should be more closely examined. The expatriate literature has emphasized expatriate learning orientation to increase adjustment (Magnini and Honeycutt, 2003). For example, double-loop learning, which generates learning from developing new capabilities and new approaches (Argyris, 1999), and real-time training are viewed as critical for expatriate adjustment. Magnini and Honeycutt (2003) claim that training is good preparation for expatriate adjustment, but the expatriates need high learning orientations in order to seek real-time training as novel situations surface. Expatriates with low learning orientations are more likely to avoid ambiguous situations and feel vulnerable in culturally diverse environments. Research shows that a strong organizational dedication to learning fosters a climate that places a high value on growth and learning in rms, and the climate is more likely to create organizations actual learning generated by individuals (Calantone et al., 2002; Sinkula et al., 1997; Kamoche, 1997). Employees who work for organizations without a commitment to learning will not be encouraged to pursue learning activities (Calantone et al., 2002). Moreover, learning organizations will discourage expatriates from repeating routine work and encourage them to be learning orientated (Kamoche, 1997). Therefore, it is logical to argue that an organizational climate that encourages learning will in turn encourage expatriates to be motivated to learn, and thus improve adjustment. In a similar vein, if expatriates perceive high training investment (high PCTI) then a learning-centric culture is fostered. Prior research supports the notion that organizational climate mediates the relationship between training and desired outcomes (Tracey et al., 1995). For example, Gelade and Ivery (2003) show the inuence of training on organizational performance through organizational climate. In their study, training is positively related to the overall organizational performance by strengthening the organizational climate. As more research regarding the inuence of cross-cultural training on expatriate adjustment is needed, the mediating effect of organizational learning climate, the perception toward the work environment, between PCTI, expatriate perception toward training investment, and adjustment is investigated in this study. Derived from the literature (Jones and James, 1979), we examine four dimensions of organizational climate: commitment to learning, shared vision, open-mindedness, and innovativeness. Commitment to learning. The rst dimension of organizational learning climate is commitment to learning, dened as the degree to which an organization values and promotes learning (Calantone et al., 2002). Sinkula et al. (1997) present commitment to learning as a prerequisite for organizational ability to improve understanding of the environment. The basic principle of organizational learning is based on whether an organization places value on learning (Becker and Huselid, 2006). Without a strong commitment to learning, it may be difcult for organizations to continue to grow in the competitive environment, and without appropriate organizational climate of

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commitment to learning, it may be difcult for employees to be highly motivated. If an expatriate perceives that the rms training investment exceeds industry norms, then the expatriate will conclude that the rm possesses a commitment to learning. As a consequence, training transfer is more prone to occur and adjustment is enhanced. Therefore, the following predictions are advanced: H2a. The expatriates perceptions of the rms commitment to learning will mediate the relationship between PCTI and his/her work adjustment. H2b. The expatriates perceptions of the rms commitment to learning will mediate the relationship between PCTI and his/her general adjustment. Shared vision The second dimension consisting of organizational learning climate is shared vision. Often referred to as shared values or mutual goals (Li, 2005; Morgan and Hunt, 1994), shared vision is dened as an agreement of the business units vision across all levels, functions, and divisions (Magnini, 2008). Tsai and Ghoshal (1998) state that shared visions encourage the trusting relationship among members in the organizations as well as between members and the organization. Through the understanding of what the business is and where it is going (Sinkula et al., 1997), members gain trust in the organization and, by extension, obliterate the possibility of opportunistic behavior (Ouchi, 1980). If it is perceived by the expatriate that the rm has a strong investment in training, it follows that the expatriate will view this investment as part of a unied or shared vision of success. As previously stated, all management actions send signals to employees that inuence their perceptions and behaviors (Baldwin and Magjuka, 1991; Santos and Stuart, 2003). These discussions are summarized in the following hypotheses: H3a. The expatriates perceptions of the rms shared vision will mediate the relationship between PCTI and his/her work adjustment. H3b. The expatriates perceptions of the rms shared vision will mediate the relationship between PCTI and his/her general adjustment. Open-mindedness. Open-mindedness refers to the willingness to critically evaluate the organizations operational routine and to accept new ideas (Calantone et al., 2002). To remain competitive in todays business environment, assumptions, world-views, and the notion of organizational strategy, must be continually evaluated. That is, only organizations with open-mindedness are not reluctant to question and criticize old routines, seeking to improve business practices (Magnini, 2008). In an organization that lacks a climate of open-mindedness, members tend to stick to the current mode of reasoning without any desire for generating learning from developing new capabilities and new approaches (Wong, 2005). If a rm invests in training then it stands to reason that the rm embraces new ideas. In the hotel business, expatriate managers must have domestic management experience before being placed abroad; thus, the expatriate already has many existing routines for how to go about operating a hotel. Expatriate training serves as a means of breaking those culture-specic routines and expanding paradigms with new ideas. Therefore, investment in training communicates

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open-mindedness which, in turn, results in better adjustment; the following hypotheses are offered: H4a. The expatriates perceptions of the rms open-mindedness will mediate the relationship between PCTI and his/her work adjustment. H4b. The expatriates perceptions of the rms open-mindedness will mediate the relationship between PCTI and his/her general adjustment. Innovativeness. Crossan and Apaydin (2010) construct a comprehensive denition of innovation as the:
[. . .] production or adoption, assimilation, and exploitation of a value-added novelty in economic and social spheres; renewal and enlargement of products, services, and markets; development of new methods of production; and establishment of new management systems.

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This denition includes visible innovation such as production and adoption as well as internal benet such as adding value to the rms. Numerous studies have revealed that organizational innovation is critical for successful performance (Calantone et al., 2002; Crossan and Apaydin, 2010). Victoria and Andreas (2009) assert that organizational innovativeness provides opportunities for a higher quality of service in the hotel industry where customers are more quality sensitive. Also, research indicates that a rms innovativeness is positively related to the rms performance, when measured by objective items such as ROE, ROI and ROS (Calantone et al., 2002). In addition, sustained innovation is counted as the most important source of competitive advantage for business success (Elenkov and Manev, 2009). That is, organizational innovativeness is required for organizations to continuously grow. This is especially true for expatriate hotel managers, who must accept new ideas to succeed in the competitive environment. Like with the open-mindedness discussions advanced in the previous section, a strong investment in training signals a rms desire to be innovative; an innovative culture should aid adjustment; hence: H5a. The expatriates perceptions of the rms innovativeness will mediate the relationship between PCTI and his/her work adjustment. H5b. The expatriates perceptions of the rms innovativeness will mediate the relationship between PCTI and his/her general adjustment. Methodology Sampling In order to test the mediating effect of organizational learning climate between PCTI and expatriate adjustment, the sampling frame in this study was comprised of hotel properties in countries around the globe. Through intensive internet searching, the e-mail addresses of 7,988 hotels in 101 countries were collected. In an effort to avoid response bias inuenced by corporate culture, the hotels were carefully selected to include a variety of sizes, brands, management structures, ownership structures, and various property types, including business hotels and resort hotels. Since this study focuses on organization-wide climate as a mediator, different characteristics and demographics of hotels are required to avoid results from one dominant culture or climate. Although different levels of organizational climate can exist in an

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organization, using varied types of hotels enables us to gather information regarding different levels and dimensions of organizational climate. Moreover, in order to measure respondents honest opinion toward their work places, it was critical to show that this study was conducted independently with the results kept condential. An e-mail was sent to each hotel on the list asking for completion of the questionnaire with clear instructions that only an expatriate manager was permitted to complete the questionnaire. Of the 7,988 total online-survey invitation e-mails sent to hotels in 101 countries, approximately 1,500 were agged as undeliverable due to hotel e-mail ltering software. Of the 6,488 delivered survey invitations, we received 71 usable responses from hotel expatriate managers. Past studies conducted on hotel expatriate managers demonstrate that these are elusive individuals to conduct research on, particularly when hotel expatriate manager respondents are ought across various hotel brands, hotel types, and geographic locations. In fact, the comparably small sample size is not uncommon in expatriate literature in the hospitality industry. Hu et al. (2002) conducted a study regarding cross-cultural impact and expatriate adjustment with a survey from 60 expatriate hotel employees while Causin and Ayoun (2011) conducted a study with 66 expatriate representatives of the lodging association. Magnini (2009) presents a study on the use of real-time training for expatriates in the hotel industry with a sample size of 19[1]. The demographic prole of the hotel expatriate manager respondents is shown in Table I. Since missing data among responses for demographic prole were handled via pairwise deletion, the number of responses for each question is given in Table I. The majority of respondents (72.1 percent) have worked in the hotel industry for over ve years, and about 70 percent of respondents are employed as general managers. Furthermore, about 50 percent of respondents have had several previous expatriate assignments, thus despite the lower response rate, the demographic prole suggests a higher quality of responses from experienced expatriates. Table II depicts the various host and home (native) countries for the respondents of this study. Measurement of variables Organizational learning climate. The commitment to learning construct was operationalized using four item scale of Sinkula et al. (1997). Responses were based on a seven-point Likert-type scale: 1 strongly disagree, 7 strongly agree, asking how respondents agree with statements given. For example, the rst item asked to respondents was managers basically agree that our organizations ability to promote learning is the key to our competitive advantage. A complete list of scale items is found in the Appendix. The shared vision construct was operationalized using Sinkula et al.s (1997) four item scale containing items such as there is a commonality of purpose in my organization. Each item was assessed with a seven-point Likert-type scale: 1 strongly disagree, 7 strongly agree, asking how respondents agree with statements given. To aid in reducing the likelihood of a common method bias, the current research reverse coded these four shared vision items in one-half of the surveys that were sent to expatriates. To measure open-mindedness, the six item scale of Sinkula et al. (1997) was used and responses were based on a seven-point Likert-type scale: 1 strongly disagree,

Frequency Gender (n 68) Male Female Years of industry experience (n 68) Less than 5 years 6-10 years 11-15 years 16-20 years 21-25 years More than 26 years Number of previous expatriate assignments (n 62) None 1 2 3 4 5 6 More than 6 times Current position title a (n 63) Director of sales and marketing F&B manager General manager HR manager Reservation manager Revenue manager Note: All are expatriate positions
a

% 75 25 27.9 20.6 14.7 14.7 10.3 11.8 37.1 11.3 12.9 16.1 4.8 6.5 3.2 8.1 3.2 14.3 69.9 3.2 4.8 4.8

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Table I. Demographic prole of respondents

7 strongly agree. For example, the scale measured how respondents agreed with statements given such as we are not afraid to reect critically on the shared assumptions we have made about our customers. The last construct to measure the organizational learning climate is innovativeness. This construct utilized the six item measurement developed by Hurt et al. (1977). The items are employed in the evaluation of innovativeness asking how respondents felt about the following statements such as our company frequently tried out new ideas. With a seven-point Likert-type scale: 1 strongly disagree to 7 strongly agree. Also, one item was reverse coded. This procedure produced subscales with levels of reliability that ranged from acceptable to high. A high level of reliability was displayed for the subscale commitment to learning (a 0.89) and shared vision (a 0.97). Acceptable levels of reliability were displayed for the subscales open-mindedness (a 0.7) and innovativeness (a 0.75). Expatriate adjustment. As the dependent variable, expatriate adjustment was assessed by the scales developed from literature (Black, 1990). The scale consists of seven-point (1 I am not adjusted at all, 7 I am very well adjusted) Likert-type items that measure adjustment to work related and non-work related environment.

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Native country Australia Austria Belgium Brazil Bosnia and Herzegovina Canada Egypt Finland France Germany Greece India Italy Lebanon Mauritius Mexico Portugal Russia Spain Switzerland Thailand The Netherlands The Philippines UK USA Vanuatu Vietnam

Number of expatriates Host country 1 1 6 1 1 1 1 1 3 6 1 5 2 1 1 1 2 1 3 3 2 5 1 6 5 1 1 Algeria Argentina Australia Bahrain Cambodia Chile China Czech Republic Ecuador Egypt Estonia Greece Hong Kong Hungary India Indonesia Italy Japan Kenya Laos Malaysia Malta The Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria Oman Panama Bosnia and Herzegovina Saudi Arabia Singapore Sri Lanka Thailand The Netherlands UAE UK USA Vanuatu Vietnam

Number of expatriates 2 2 1 1 1 1 5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 1 3 1 2 2 1 5 1 1 1 1 4 6 1 2 2 1 1 1

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Table II. Native and host country of respondents

Work adjustment was measured by three items such as specic job responsibilities, while general adjustment was measured by seven items such as living condition in general. The coeffcient a of work adjustment was 0.93, and that of general adjustment was 0.85. PCTI. To operationalize PCTI, respondents were asked whether the parent company provided expatriate training which was above the industry standard. A seven-point Likert-type scale was used to measure expatriate training ranging from 1 I strongly disagree to 7 I strongly agree. It is prudent to note that the wide range of training techniques used in industry make it difcult to evaluate the extent of expatriate training. For example, because training is delivered through a variety of

modes (classroom, online, etc.), it is not possible to gauge training investment according to the number of hours of training received. An expatriates perceptions of training investment, however, can be measured. Single item measure to assess a managers perception of his/her companys practice relative to perceived industry norms is based on precedents from prior business literature (Bone and Corey, 2000). Language prociency. Respondents were also asked to indicate the extent of uency in the language of the host country when they began the current assignment with a seven-point Likert-type scale (1 not uent at all, and 7 uent). Language prociency was included as a control variable in the analyses[2]. Number of previous expatriate assignments. Respondents were asked to indicate how many expatriate assignments (if any) they had completed in the past. Number of previous assignments was included as a control variable in the analyses. Analysis Since the hypothesized models (Figure 1) both entail testing a main effect and four mediators, we employed the widely accepted mediation analysis technique suggested by Baron and Kenny (1986). The procedure calls for the calculation of a series of linear regression models. The rst condition requires that there is a signicant relationship between the independent variable (PCTI) and the dependent variable (General/Work Adjustment). The next condition requires a signicant relationship between the mediator (organizational learning climate) and the independent variable and the dependent variable, while the nal condition consists of demonstrating that the mediator variable inuences the dependent variable when the independent variable is also included, such that the previously signicant relationship between independent variable and dependent variable is greatly reduced with the mediator controlled. Maximum evidence for mediation occurs if the previous relationship between the independent and dependent variable becomes insignicant known as complete mediation. Thus, the effects of PCTI on the work and general adjustment and through organizational climate of learning are tested. Further, the mediating effects of the four organizational learning climate dimensions (commitment to learning, shared vision, open-mindedness, and innovativeness) on the specic types of adjustment (work adjustment, and general adjustment) are tested. Results In this study it is found that PCTI inuences the work and general adjustment through the perceived organizational learning climate. As Table III shows, to test H1a and H1b, the main effect of PCTI on work and general adjustment were tested[3]. The effect of PCTI on work adjustment (b 0.4, p , 0.01) and general adjustment (b 0.32, p , 0.01) were both signicant; thus, H1a and H1b were supported. Organizational learning climate dimensions are individually tested to determine whether each dimension mediates expatriate adjustment. The adjustment variable is used in two different groupings, work adjustment, and general adjustment, to test organizational climate dimensions as mediators. The resulting mediating effect of organizational climate in each of the four dimensions (commitment to learning, shared vision, open-mindedness, and innovativeness) is displayed in Table III. The signicant effects of control variables, however, were not found.

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Predictor Work adjustment PCTI Commitment to learning PCTI Work adjustment PCTI Commitment to learning Work adjustment PCTI Shared vision PCTI Work adjustment PCTI Shared vision Work adjustment PCTI Open-mindedness PCTI Work adjustment PCTI Open-mindedness Work adjustment PCTI Innovativeness PCTI Work adjustment PCTI Innovativeness

b
0.40 0.44 0.20 0.47 0.40 0.46 0.20 0.44 0.40 0.34 0.23 0.50 0.40 0.62 0.11 0.47

t-value 3.56 * * 3.97 * * 1.75 4.17 * * 3.56 * * 4.18 * * 1.75 3.78 * * 3.56 * * 2.98 * * 2.20 * 4.89 * * 3.56 * * 4.93 * * 0.81 3.62 * *

Predictor General adjustment PCTI Commitment to learning PCTI General adjustment PCTI Commitment to learning General adjustment PCTI Shared vision PCTI General adjustment PCTI Shared vision General adjustment PCTI Open-mindedness PCTI General adjustment PCTI Open-mindedness General adjustment PCTI Innovativeness PCTI General adjustment PCTI Innovativeness

b
0.32 0.44 0.18 0.32 0.32 0.46 0.20 0.27 0.32 0.34 0.19 0.40 0.32 0.62 0.12 0.33

t-value 2.79 * * 3.97 * * 1.48 2.62 * 2.79 * * 4.18 * * 1.57 2.15 * 2.79 * * 2.98 * * 1.64 3.51 * * 2.79 * * 4.93 * * 0.83 2.32 *

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Table III. Mediation analysis: PCTI ! organizational learning climate ! work/general adjustment

Note: Signicant at: *p , 0.05; * *p , 0.01

Table III demonstrates that the organizational climate dimension of commitment to learning perfectly mediates PCTI on work adjustment (b 0.47, p , 0.01) and general adjustment (b 0.32, p , 0.05); thus, H2a and H2b are supported. Like commitment to learning, the organizational climate dimension of shared vision perfectly mediates PCTI on work adjustment (b 0.44, p , 0.01) and general adjustment (b 0.27, p , 0.05); therefore, H3a and H3b are supported. The organizational climate dimension of open-mindedness perfectly mediates PCTI on general adjustment (b 0.4, p , 0.01) while it partially mediates on work adjustment (b 0.5, p , 0.01). Finally, organizational learning climate dimension of innovativeness performs as a perfect mediator of PCTI on work adjustment (b 0.47, p , 0.01) and general adjustment (b 0.33, p , 0.05); hence, H5a and H5b are supported. Figure 2(a) shows perfect mediating effects of three organizational climate dimensions, commitment to learning, shared vision, and innovativeness, on expatriate work adjustment. In other words, PCTI perfectly inuences the work adjustment of expatriate hotel managers through the organizational climate dimension of commitment to learning, shared vision, and innovativeness. Although the dimension of open-mindedness has a signicant mediating effect, the mediating effect is not a perfect mediating effect.

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Figure 2. Mediating effect: PCTI ! organizational learning climate ! work/general adjustment

The organizational learning climate dimensions of commitment to learning, shared vision, open-mindedness, and innovativeness act as mediators between PCTI and the general adjustment of expatriate hotel managers. Figure 2(b) summarizes the relationship that PCTI perfectly inuences the general adjustment of expatriate hotel managers through the organizational climate dimensions of commitment to learning, shared vision, open-mindedness, and innovativeness. Discussion and conclusions In this study we sought to explore the processes through which perceptions of training investment may affect adjustment of expatriates specically via the inuence of organizational climate of learning. Since the construct of organizational climate has four dimensions, namely, commitment to learning, shared vision, open-mindedness, and innovativeness, and expatriate adjustment has two components, work adjustment and non-work adjustment, we examined the mediating inuence of each dimension on both kinds of adjustment. The data gathered from expatriate hotel managers across numerous countries, analyzed via Baron and Kennys (1986) mediation methodology, indicates that the perceptions of company investment in training programs positively inuence organizational learning climate which, in turn, increases the level of expatriate work and general adjustment. From a practical perspective, expatriate adjustment is an important metric for all multinational corporations, especially so in the hospitality sector where human capital, customer service, and service quality go hand in hand. Expatriate adjustment has been shown to be positively related to performance (Harrison and Shaffer, 2005; Hechanova et al., 2003). Relatedly, poor expatriate adjustment results not only in premature return of expatriate managers and failed assignments, but also causes other work-related

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problems, like lack of job satisfaction and organizational commitment, poor performance, and turnover intent, which result in nancial losses to companies, in the form of customer erosion, lost business and damage to company reputation, as well as emotional hardships to executives and their families (Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al., 2005). Given these costs, insights into the predictors of expatriate adjustment make important contributions to managerial practice that imply that training signicantly inuences organizational climate; thereby increasing expatriate adjustment. To achieve improved expatriate performance, employers must provide expatriate training which will be mediated by a positive perception of the organization. While extant research provides contradictory evidence regarding the inuence of training on expatriate adjustment (Black et al., 1991; Morris and Robie, 2001; Okpara and Kabongo, 2011), this study provides a more nuanced explanation of the inuence of training on adjustment via intervening processes of organizational learning climate, an approach not previously taken in the literature, despite the need to explore other relationships (Hu et al., 2002; Puck et al., 2008). Hence, from the theory building and research angle, this research provides not only conceptual arguments and empirical evidence regarding intervening processes that may connect training and adjustment for the hospitality industry but also broadly contributes to the literature in human resource management and organizational behavior. Also from a managerial perspective, the results suggest that rms should make extra effort to communicate to their expatriates that they have a strong commitment to training, considering that training will continue to remain important (Davidson et al., 2011). This commitment can be communicated during the hiring process, in the orientation process, and throughout the expatriates employment span. For example, the focus on training can be stated in the companys written strategic positioning documents and on electronic media. In sum, if the expatriate perceives that the training investment of the rm is greater than that of competing rms then superior adjustment should result (mediated through heightened perceptions of the organizations learning climate). PCTI leads to enhanced perceptions of organizational learning commitment, shared vision, open-mindedness, and innovativeness because the training investment leads the expatriate to conclude that the rm values learning (Santos and Stuart, 2003). Training investment and the communication to employees of having made that investment sends a strong signal to expatriates regarding what the rm values as important. Thus, if an expatriate perceives that his/her rm has made a heavy investment in his/her training and that this investment exceeds the norms practiced in the industry then s/he will be more prone to apply the concepts from the training during the expatriate assignment. While the current research nds that perceived training investment inuences organizational learning dimensions, so do many other variables. The use of outside consultants and participation in trade shows, seminars, and conferences engender a learning climate. More importantly, fostering a workplace in which it is not only acceptable but encouraged to question assumptions breeds a learning climate. Since this research nds that the learning climate spawns expatriate adjustment, each of these factors should be recognized as important. Any variables that can have a positive inuence on a rms commitment to learning, shared vision, open-mindedness, and innovativeness are worthy of both, attention by practicing managers, and attention in future research.

This research thus makes important contributions, but it has limitations that can serve as a basis for future research. Factors besides perceived training investment and perceived organizational learning climate that can impact expatriate adjustment like personality characteristics and spousal support, have not been considered in this study. Future research may therefore investigate whether the factors mentioned above, or other factors can also serve as mediating or moderating inuences in the relationship between expatriate training and adjustment. As organizations become more globalized and the investment in, and reliance upon, expatriate managers increases, the importance of expatriate adjustment and success will directly contribute to the success of international corporations. The hospitality industry in particular which faces a strong challenge with need for a high international standard of service that embraces customers worldwide must therefore understand that investment made in training programs for expatriate managers must be communicated clearly and deployed via several channels, in order to be perceived positively, creating a learning climate that can eventually result in better work and general adjustment of its managers deputed to work in foreign cultures.
Notes 1. As far as we are aware, a sample of 71 expatriate managers in the current studies exceeds the sample sizes obtained in previous hotel expatriate studies. Studies that purport large samples often combine expatriates with non-expatriates. 2. Cultural distance values were also calculated using Kogut and Singhs (1988) formula and were found not to inuence the major ndings of this research. 3. As indicated in the methodology section, in each of the regression models, the expatriates language prociency and number of previous expatriate assignments were measured as control variables but found not to inuence the major ndings of this research.

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Appendix
Construct Commitment to learning (a 0.89) Item CO1 CO2 CO3 CO4 Shared vision (a 0.97) SV1 SV2 SV3 SV4 Open-mindedness (a 0.7) OM1 OM2 Innovativeness (a 0.75) IV1 IV2 IV3 IV4 IV5 IV6 General adjustment (a 0.85) GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7 WA1 WA2 WA3 PCTI Measure Managers basically agree that our organizations ability to promote learning is the key to our competitive advantage The basic values of this organization include learning as a key to improvement The sense around here is that employee learning is an investment, not an expense Learning in my organization is seen as a key commodity necessary to guarantee organizational survival There is a commonality of purpose in my organization There is total agreement on our organizational vision across all levels, functions, and divisions All employees are committed to the goals of this organization Employees view themselves as partners in charting the direction of the organization We are not afraid to reect critically on the shared assumptions we have made about our customers Personnel in this enterprise realize that the very way they perceive the marketplace must be continually questioned Our company frequently tried out new ideas Our company seeks out new ways to do things Our company is creative in its methods of operation Our company is often the rst to market with new products and services Innovation in our company is perceived as too risky and is resisted Our new product introduction has increased over the last ve years Living condition in general Housing condition Food Shopping Cost of living Entertainment/recreation facilities and opportunities Health care facilities Specic job responsibilities Performance standards and expectations Supervisory responsibilities The parent company provided expatriate training which was above the industry standard

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Work adjustment (a 0.93)

Perceived corporate training investment

Table AI. Measurement scales

Corresponding author Vincent P. Magnini can be contacted at: magnini@vt.edu

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