This study is an attempt to strengthen the existing knowledge about factors affecting the adjustment process of the trailing expatriate spouse and the subsequent impact of any maladjustment or expatriate failure. We conducted a qualitative enquiry using grounded theory methodology with 26 Indian spouses who had to deal with their partner’s expatriate assignment relocation. The open and axial coding techniques and the process of theoretical sampling are discussed at length. Our investigation reveals the recurrence of several factors earlier studied in previous models such as cultural novelty, family and peer support, the organization’s support and the spouse’s personality. Additionally, we found that the Indian spouses’ adjustment to expatriate assignments was influenced greatly by their perceived gender-role ideology and their marital obligations to their partners. The resulting extended model of spousal adjustment to expatriate adjustments may help management practitioners to enhance expatriate success in global assignments.


Expatriate Failure, Spouse, Grounded Theory, Culture Shock


Excerpts from this paper were presented at the Association of Indian Marketing (AIM) conference in December 2010 in New Delhi, India. We humbly express our gratitude to the conference chair as well as the distinguished audience for providing us with their valuable encouragement and feedback.

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