It takes two to tango: a review of the empirical research on expatriate-local interactions

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There has been a growing interest in the potentially positive impact of expatriate interactions with host country nationals (HCNs) in International Human Resource Management (IHRM). This paper provides a comprehensive overview of this relatively new body of literature, and organises the empirical research with regard to antecedents and outcomes of expatriate-local (E-L) interactions at four different levels of analysis: individual, dyadic, group, and societal level. A literature search resulted in the selection of 74 articles, published between 1990 and 2016, which focus on E-L interactions that influence the success of an organisation. The overview shows most of the research has been done at the individual level of analysis, examining the impact of contact with HCNs on expatriate adjustment and performance. Several avenues and suggestions for future research are listed; an important starting point for future research is to clearly delineate which aspect of expatriate-local interactions is investigated – the frequency, depth, or breadth of the contact. This review counterbalances the predominant IHRM focus on expatriates as sole actors in expatriate success by specifically including another important stakeholder, the HCN. It further provides directions and a research agenda for future research on expatriate-local interactions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number21
Pages (from-to)2993-3025
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • expatriate-local interactions
  • host country nationals
  • hcn
  • hcns
  • expatriate social network
  • international human resource management
  • HCNs
  • HCN
  • International Human Resource Management
  • Expatriate-local interactions


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