Social support on international assignments: The relevance of socioemotional support from locals

Astrid Podsiadlowski, Christin‐Melanie Vauclair, Erika Spiess, Christina Stroppa
Published Online:
19 Apr 2012
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 48 Issue 4

Additional Options

The first author received funding from the Commission of the European Communities as a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant (FP/‐PEOPLE‐2007‐4‐3‐IRG) under grant agreement number PIRG02‐GA‐224818 for data analysis and write‐up. We want to thank our anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions, and Ruth Lamont and Jaimee Stuart for their help with the preparation of the manuscript. Social support takes on a special significance in the context of sojourners. Using the matching/specificity hypothesis we hypothesized that sojourners’ satisfaction is increased if there is an optimal match between type and source of social support. The Index of Sojourner Social Support (ISSS; Ong &Ward, 2005) Scale was used to examine this hypothesis in the context of instrumental and socioemotional support for sojourners on work assignments. The results showed that (a) both types of social support are positively related to satisfaction with the sojourn, (b) socioemotional support is more important in predicting satisfaction with a sojourn than instrumental support, and (c) support from locals is the most important source of social support. Furthermore, we found partial support for the matching/specificity hypothesis: Only the amount of support from locals was a significant moderator and only the relationship between socioemotional support and satisfaction with a sojourn was moderated. We discuss the relevance of source and type of support for cultural adjustment and the importance of contact with locals during international sojourns.

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