Making friends abroad: A process model of expatriate social network formation

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Although the social context of expatriation is very important for expatriate success, little is known about how expatriates make friends abroad. Based on 72 interviews with expatriates around the world, a process model of expatriate social network formation is developed. This study shows that this process is less deliberate than usually assumed; expatriates do not always actively choose who they come into contact with, and contextual factors as well as alter characteristics also influence relationship initiation and development. Furthermore, several expatriate-specific drivers of this process have been identified. The main contribution of this study is that it explains how expatriates create a new social network abroad. Practically speaking, the model could guide expatriates in making friends abroad; organisations can facilitate this process and the expatriates themselves can influence the process in order to create a social network that supports them in their cross-cultural transition.
Period16. Jun 2022
Event titleEURAM Annual Conference 2022
Event typeConference
LocationWinterthur, SwitzerlandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Expatriates
  • Social network
  • Friendship
  • International HRM
  • HCNs