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Demographic Factors

Studies have shown that demographic qualities are related t the level of culture shock experienced by the expatriates.  Review of literature shows that following are demographic factors effecting culture shock.

Family Status

This is considered to be the most important demographic variable related to expatriate culture shock. There is widespread acceptance among researchers that family status is arguably the most important demographic variable with regard to expatriate culture shock (Black, 1988, 289; Black & Stephens, 1989, 540; Black & Gregersen, 1991, 475; Shaffer & Harrison, 2001, 252; Takeuchi, et al., 2002, 664).  The expatriate’s experience is greatly influenced by their family and its reaction, Shaffer and Harrison (2001) found that it was easier for smaller children to adjust to school as compared to older children.  A large number of expatriate turnover and failure is related to expatriate’s family. (Harvey, 1985, 88) despite the fact that family plays a very important part in the life of an expatriate, most of the training does not include family of expatriates (Black & Stephens, 1989, 538).

Gender

there is little or no research on age of gender playing a role in culture shock. In case of gender, almost all –90 percent to 97 percent of expatriate employees are men (Shaffer & Harrison, 2001, 250; Takeuchi et al, 2002, 663-664). Some cultures are male dominated or masculine societies, like Arab countries, Far East and Latin America. In these kinds of cultures female expatriates may feel more intense culture shock.  But in other studies it was found that the cultural bias was there only for local female population, while expatriate women are considered foreigners working there (Adler1984, 91; Adler and Izraeli 1988, 65).

Age

age may or may not have an impact on culture shock; there are though virtually no studies which discuss age as a demographic factor. Birdseye & Hill, (1995, 809) conducted a study which shows that it is relatively easier for older expatriates to deal with culture shock than a younger expatriate.

 

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