On Becoming Bicultural. A Taxonomy of Expatriate Cultural Identity.

Ling Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Today’s world is becoming increasingly diverse and mobile and the world’s workforce pattern is changing rapidly. Although there is a growing number of expatriate possessing more than one cultural profile, there is very little known about how monocultural expatriates become bicultural or multicultural. The nascent literature on biculturals has not paid attention to the cultural schema and identity formation of biculturals, especially among those biculturals who are not born in bicultural families but have internalized a new cultural schema as an adult. Drawing upon a grounded study involving 54 in- depth interviews as well as observations with expatriates and their close host country colleagues in 16 organizations, this study proposes a taxonomy of expatriate cultural identity consisting of monocultural, born bicultural, marginal bicultural, cosmopolitan and transitional. In particular, the antecedents and characteristics of marginals and cosmopolitans are compared and a dynamic model of expatriates’ cultural identity is proposed. Practical implications for the selection and training of global leaders across cultural boundaries are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
PublisherAOM - Academy of Management
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
Event2014 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM) - Philadelphia, PA, Philadelphia, United States
Duration: 01.08.201405.08.2014
Conference number: 74


  • 512 Business and Management


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