Host country nationals as socializing agents: A social identity approach

Soo Min Toh, Angelo S. Denisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A major challenge facing Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) is finding ways to increase the success rates of managers assigned overseas. Our paper draws upon social identity theory to develop a model that focuses on the role of host country nationals (HCNs) in determining the adjustment of expatriate managers. Specifically, our model proposes attributes of the expatriate and the HCN that can increase the salience of national identity and outgroup categorization of expatriates by the HCNs. We also suggest how outgroup categorization interacts with a number of situational factors to influence the role of HCNs as socializing agents for expatriate newcomers. Finally, we propose that the socializing behaviors HCNs may display or withhold from the expatriate will affect the adjustment of the expatriate. Our model highlights the often-overlooked partners in the expatriate adjustment process and emphasizes the need for MNEs to be cognizant of the social dynamics between HCNs and expatriates in the host location.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-301
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007


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