Mindfulness as Facilitating Expatriate Development: Advancing Knowledge Sharing and Promoting Cultural Adjustment Abroad

Adam Pervez, Mississippi State University - Meridian
Graham H. Lowman, Kennesaw State University
Maura J. Mills, The University of Alabama


With the continued shift toward expatriate assignments as developmental opportunities, understanding how to facilitate expatriate development and cross-cultural adjustment is critical for organizations deploying employees overseas. To this end, we put forth a conceptual model proposing mindfulness as a key factor facilitating short-term (cultural adjustment) and long-term (global mindset) expatriate development through its impact on bias reduction and knowledge sharing. Specifically, we draw on social identity theory and broaden and build theory to theorize regarding how these relationships may function within the context of expatriates interacting with host country nationals and others in the expatriate community, suggesting that mindfulness is key to reducing the biases that stifle expatriate development. Importantly, we delineate willingness and tendency to engage in knowledge sharing as a central boundary condition of the model. Finally, we discuss theoretical implications for researchers, as well as practical implications for expatriates and their employing organizations. In so doing, we provide important future directions upon which future research and practice can build in empirically testing and implementing the recommendations from the proposed conceptual model.