Clash of cultures? German expatriates' work-life boundary adjustment in South Korea

Anna Katharina Bader, Fabian Jintae Froese, Albert Kraeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Managing work‐life balance abroad is considered as one of the key challenges associated with expatriation. That is particularly true when the enactment of the work‐life boundaries of expatriates' home and host countries diverge. Drawing from boundary theory, we investigate whether and how expatriates experience cross‐cultural challenges in terms of their work‐life boundaries abroad. We interviewed 28 German expatriates in South Korea because both cultures differ substantially in terms of their preferred work‐life boundaries. Our study shows that perceived work‐life boundary pressures in the foreign environment and willingness to adjust to the local work‐life boundary culture vary substantially among expatriates. Based on a function of these two forces, we develop a typology of four work‐life boundary adjustment styles and relate them to work‐life balance satisfaction. Furthermore, we identify individual and organizational factors that influence expatriates' work‐life boundary adjustment styles. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-374
JournalEuropean Management Review
Issue number3
Early online date19 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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