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The U-Curve Adjustment Hypothesis Revisited: A Review and Theoretical Framework


  • J Stewart Black

    (Dartmouth College)

  • Mark Mendenhall

    (University of Tennessee, Chattanooga)


The cross-cultural adjustment research literature has largely been conducted from an atheoretical perspective. When a theoretical framework is imposed, the U-Curve adjustment theory has been the one most commonly used. The lack of a comprehensive review of the empirical literature on the U-Curve adjustment theory has allowed scholars to accept or dismiss the theory on grounds other than that of empirical evidence. This paper reviews the empirical literature and proposes a theoretical framework and research agenda for future research on cross-cultural adjustment.© 1991 JIBS. Journal of International Business Studies (1991) 22, 225–247

Suggested Citation

  • J Stewart Black & Mark Mendenhall, 1991. "The U-Curve Adjustment Hypothesis Revisited: A Review and Theoretical Framework," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 22(2), pages 225-247, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:22:y:1991:i:2:p:225-247

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    Cited by:

    1. Usunier, Jean-Claude, 1998. "Oral pleasure and expatriate satisfaction: an empirical approach," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 89-110, February.
    2. Bader, Benjamin & Schuster, Tassilo, 2015. "Expatriate Social Networks in Terrorism-Endangered Countries: An Empirical Analysis in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 63-77.
    3. Dan Wang & Di Fan & Susan Freeman & Cherrie Jiuhua Zhu, 2017. "Exploring cross-cultural skills for expatriate managers from Chinese multinationals: Congruence and contextualization," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 123-146, March.
    4. Carlsson, Johan & Nordegren, Axel & Sjöholm, Fredrik, 2005. "International experience and the performance of Scandinavian firms in China," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 21-40, February.
    5. Selmer, Jan, 2002. "The Chinese connection? Adjustment of Western vs. overseas Chinese expatriate managers in China," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 41-50, January.
    6. Selmer, Jan, 1999. "Culture shock in China?: Adjustment pattern of western expatriate business managers," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(5-6), pages 515-534, October.
    7. Maertz Jr., Carl P. & Hassan, Ahmad & Magnusson, Peter, 2009. "When learning is not enough: A process model of expatriate adjustment as cultural cognitive dissonance reduction," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 66-78, January.
    8. Michailova, Snejina & Wilson, Heather I.M., 2008. "Small firm internationalization through experiential learning: The moderating role of socialization tactics," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 243-254, March.
    9. Thomas, David C. & Toyne, Brian, 1995. "Subordinates' responses to cultural adaptation by Japanese expatriate managers," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-10, January.
    10. Giovanna Magnani & Antonella Zucchella & Dinorà Eliete Floriani, 2015. "Relativity and asymmetry in distance. The role of strategic distance in the internationalization decisions of Brazilian and Italian firms," DEM Working Papers Series 111, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
    11. repec:pal:jintbs:v:48:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1057_s41267-017-0080-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Arp, Frithjof, 2013. "Typologies: What types of foreign executives are appointed by local organisations and what types of organisations appoint them?," Zeitschrift fuer Personalforschung. German Journal of Research in Human Resource Management, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 27(3), pages 167-194.
    13. Wang, Dan & Feng, Taiwen & Freeman, Susan & Fan, Di & Zhu, Cherrie Jiuhua, 2014. "Unpacking the “skill – cross-cultural competence” mechanisms: Empirical evidence from Chinese expatriate managers," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 530-541.
    14. Kevin Cheng & David Phillips & Oi-Ling Siu & Anthony Yeh, 2014. "Patterns of Residential Adjustment for Older Person: Who will Recover and How Do They Recover? A Study in Different Residential Environments in Hong Kong," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 295-319, October.
    15. repec:eee:iburev:v:27:y:2018:i:1:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Punnett, Betty Jane, 1997. "Towards effective management of expatriate spouses," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 243-257, October.
    17. Ferenc Farkas & Giora Avny, 2005. "Cross-Cultural Issues of International Joint Ventures: A Viewpoint from Israel," Proceedings-3rd International Conference on Management, Enterprise and Benchmarking (MEB 2005), Óbuda University, Keleti Faculty of Business and Management.
    18. Bossard, Annette B. & Peterson, Richard B., 2005. "The repatriate experience as seen by American expatriates," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 9-28, February.
    19. Fariborz Damanpour & Carlos Devece & Chao Chen & Vijay Pothukuchi, 2012. "Organizational culture and partner interaction in the management of international joint ventures in India," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 453-478, June.
    20. Lin, Feng-Jyh, 2010. "The determinants of foreign direct investment in China: The case of Taiwanese firms in the IT industry," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(5), pages 479-485, May.
    21. Kim, Kwanghyun & Slocum Jr., John W., 2008. "Individual differences and expatriate assignment effectiveness: The case of U.S.-based Korean expatriates," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 109-126, January.
    22. repec:spr:manint:v:50:y:2010:i:1:d:10.1007_s11575-009-0022-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. repec:spr:manint:v:49:y:2009:i:3:d:10.1007_s11575-009-0147-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Joanna Purgal-Popiela, 2011. "The success of a foreign mission and its reasons - the point of view of the organization and of the expatriate (Sukces misji zagranicznej i jego uwarunkowania - spojrzenie z perspektywy organizacji i ," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 9(34a), pages 75-97.
    25. Fee, Anthony & Gray, Sidney J., 2013. "Transformational learning experiences of international development volunteers in the Asia-Pacific: The case of a multinational NGO," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 196-208.

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