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

27 Citations (Scopus)


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
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Management Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 European Academy of Management

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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