Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Investigation of mentoring relationships of Korean expatriates in the United States in relation to adjustment and demographic similarities
by Kim, Eunok, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008, 199; 3347588
Abstract (Summary)

This study investigated relationships between the diversity and strength of developmental networks and the international adjustment of Korean expatriates working in three metropolitan cities of the United States. It also examined to what extent dyadic demographic similarities between expatriate protégés and mentors were associated with the strength of dyads.

The data were collected through a survey with the Korean expatriates working for 26 U.S. subsidiaries of Korean organizations in the three metropolitan areas of Chicago, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area. A total of 99 usable questionnaires were collected: Data on 99 developmental networks and 402 dyads were analyzed. All of the identified mentoring relationships were informal ones. Multiple regression analysis and hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) were the main methods used for analyzing the data. The size and density of developmental networks were measures for the diversity of the developmental networks. Mentoring, emotional closeness, and frequency of communication were used to measure the strength of the dyads. Demographic similarities in nationality, age, organizational affiliation, organizational rank, and geographical proximity were examined with relation to the strength of the dyads.

Key findings included: Having multiple and diverse developmental relationships did not significantly influence the adjustment of the Korean expatriates working in the three metropolitan cities, nor was having strong developmental relationships related to adjustment of the Korean expatriates. The Korean and Korean-American mentors provided the expatriates more psychosocial support than the American, host country mentors did. The amount of psychosocial support provided by Korean and Korean-American mentors was not significantly different. The superior mentors, either supervisory or non-supervisory, provided the expatriates with more career mentoring than did the peer or subordinate mentors. The expatriates reported that they felt more interpersonal attractions toward Korean and Korean-American mentors than American, host-country mentors. Despite the barrier of geographical distance, it was found that the mentors located in countries other than the host country provided the expatriates with more career mentoring than did the on-site mentors. It was also found that mentors located in states other than the state where the expatriates worked provided more career mentoring than did the on-site mentors.

Results from this study suggest that having diverse mentors and strong relationships with them are not necessarily associated with the successful adjustment of Korean expatriates in the U.S. In order to facilitate adjustment of expatriates, organizations may not depend on informal mentoring relationships of expatriates, but rather may need to purposefully design and carefully implement mentoring programs for the adjustment of expatriates.

Utilization of host country employees with a home country background as mentors for expatriates is suggested. The results showed that Korean-American mentors met the psychosocial mentoring needs of the Korean expatriates as much as the Korean mentors did. Future research directions were suggested.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kuchinke, K. Peter
School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 70/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Adult education, Business education
Keywords: Adjustment, Expatriate development, Expatriate training, Expatriates, Human resource development, International human resource development, Korean, Mentoring
Publication Number: 3347588
ISBN: 978-1-109-03123-2
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