Success among self-initiated versus assigned expatriates

Albrecht, A.-G., Dilchert, S., Ones, D. S., Deller, J., & Paulus, F. M.
In B. M. Wiernik, H. Rüger, & D. S. Ones (Eds.)
Managing expatriates: Success factors in private and public domains (pp. 183–194).

This chapter compares the success outcomes of self-initiated and employer-initiated expatriates. Results show negligible to small differences between these groups on adjustment, job satisfaction, and job performance, though self-initiated expatriates do show somewhat better interaction adjustment. Results suggest that self-initiation is not a powerful determinant of expatriate success.

Tolerance of ambiguity: Relations with expatriate adjustment and job performance

Albrecht, A.-G., Ones, D. S., Dilchert, S., Deller, J., & Paulus, F. M.
In B. M. Wiernik, H. Rüger, & D. S. Ones (Eds.)
Managing expatriates: Success factors in private and public domains (pp. 71–82).

International assignments are strongly characterized novelty, complexity, insolubility, and unpredictability. In such environments, dispositional tolerance of (or even attraction to) ambiguity may be an important contributing factor to expatriate success. We use data from the iGOES project to examine the contributions of tolerance of ambiguity to expatriate outcomes. Results show that tolerance for ambiguity has only small positive benefits for expatriate locational and work adjustment, as well as for contextual and management/supervision performance. Tolerance of ambiguity-criterion relationships showed negligible variability across samples, suggesting that these weak relations are stable across differences in cultural distance and time on assignment. Results indicate that organizations selecting expatriates may realize better utility with constructs other than tolerance of ambiguity.

The impact of age and experience on expatriate outcomes

Albrecht, A.-G., Wiernik, B. M., Deller, J., Dilchert, S., Ones, D. S., & Paulus, F. M.
In B. M. Wiernik, H. Rüger, & D. S. Ones (Eds.)
Managing expatriates: Success factors in private and public domains (pp. 131–148).

Age and international experience are widely believed to importantly impact expatriate success. These variables are believed to be proxies for variables such as job knowledge, adaptability, and trainability and have a strong influence on organizational expatriation decisions. In this chapter, we examine age and experience relations with expatriate success in the iGOES samples. We find that age and experience have weak relations with most criteria and suggest more fruitful avenues for future expatriate research and practice.

Expatriate training: Intercontextual analyses from the iGOES project

Kostal, J. W., Albrecht, A.-G., Dilchert, S., Deller, J., Ones, D. S., & Paulus, F. M.
In B. M. Wiernik, H. Rüger, & D. S. Ones (Eds.)
Managing expatriates: Success factors in private and public domains (pp. 209–224).

Cross-cultural training (CCT) is used to provide expatriates with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to function effectively in the cultural contexts of their host countries. Previous meta-analyses of the effectiveness of CCT have found that, while CCT is on average beneficial for expatriates, there is large variability in effectiveness across studies. We use data from the iGOES project to examine potential moderators of CCT’s effectiveness, including type of training, specificity of training to the host culture context, presence of a mentor in the host country, and length of training. In contrast to previous findings in this literature, we found that associations between participation in CCT and expatriate job performance, job satisfaction, and international adjustment were small, and sometimes negative.

Influence of family presence on expatriate adjustment and satisfaction

Mercado, B. K., Albrecht, A.-G., Paulus, F. M., Dilchert, S., Ones, D. S., & Deller, J.
In B. M. Wiernik, H. Rüger, & D. S. Ones (Eds.)
Managing expatriates: Success factors in private and public domains (pp. 255–270).

The role of expatriate families in the success or failure of international assignments is often overlooked. Organizations often consider employees’ family status when making expatriate selection decisions, and as expatriates prepare for their travels, they must make important decisions about whether their partners and children will accompany them. In this chapter, we examine the impact of partner and children presence on expatriate outcomes. We find that family presence is generally beneficial, but note some important contexts where family may interfere with expatriate acculturation. We highlight implications for practice and areas for future study.

Lingua necessaria? Language proficiency and expatriate success

Wiernik, B. M., Albrecht, A.-G., Dilchert, S., Deller, J., Ones, D. S., & Paulus, F. M.
In B. M. Wiernik, H. Rüger, & D. S. Ones (Eds.)
Managing expatriates: Success factors in private and public domains (pp. 195–208).

Local language proficiency is often regarded as a key enabling factor for expatriate success. In this study, we use data from the iGOES project to examine how language proficiency contributes to expatriate outcomes. Language proficiency is negligibly to weakly related to most outcomes, but does show positive relations with interaction adjustment. Moderator analyses support the interpretation of this relation as reflecting increased comfort from being able to communicate effectively, rather than reflecting cultural engagement or social inclusion effects. Overall, results indicate that local language proficiency can contribute to expatriate comfort, but is not absolutely necessary for expatriate success.

Cognitive predictors and age-based adverse impact among business executives

Klein, R. M., Dilchert, S. Ones, D. S., & Dages, K. D.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 100, 1497-1510.

Age differences on measures of general mental ability and specific cognitive abilities were examined in 2 samples of job applicants to executive positions as well as a mix of executive/nonexecutive positions to determine which predictors might lead to age-based adverse impact in making selection and advancement decisions. Generalizability of the pattern of findings was also investigated in 2 samples from the general adult population. Age was negatively related to general mental ability, with older executives scoring lower than younger executives. For specific ability components, the direction and magnitude of age differences depended on the specific ability in question. Older executives scored higher on verbal ability, a measure most often associated with crystallized intelligence. This finding generalized across samples examined in this study. Also, consistent with findings that fluid abilities decline with age, older executives scored somewhat lower on figural reasoning than younger executives, and much lower on a letter series test of inductive reasoning. Other measures of inductive reasoning, such as Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices, also showed similar age group mean differences across settings. Implications for employee selection and adverse impact on older job candidates are discussed.

Openness as a factor underlying successful expatriation: A brief report of project iGOES

Deller, J., Dilchert, S., Ones, D. S., Albrecht, A.-G., & Paulus, F. M.
In X. Dai & G.-M. Chen (eds.),
Intercultural communication competence (pp. 356-365).
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Organizations that conduct business globally feel an increasing need to send employees on international assignments. Such international assignments are a challenge both for the organization and its employees. Reports from the applied and also the scholarly community reveal that reliable, valid, and easily applicable methods for selecting, preparing, and developing expatriate workers are crucial to the success of international assignments in general. This chapter provides an overview of project iGOES (international Generalizability of Expatriate Success Factors), which investigates the relevance of demographic variables, background characteristics, and individual differences traits in predicting expatriate adjustment and success. The most comprehensive project of its kind, iGOES systematically investigated whether relevant success factors differ across world regions expatriates are active in. The chapter illustrates the usefulness of the approach by focusing on and summarizing results for the personality trait of openness.

Openness in cross-cultural work settings: A multi-country study of expatriates

Albrecht, A.-G., Dilchert, S., Deller, J., & Paulus, F. M.
Journal of Personality Assessment, 96, 64-75.

Openness plays an important role in determining what kind of experiences individuals seek out not only in their personal lives, but also in work environments. The objectives of this study were (a) to examine the influence of openness and its facets on the decision to work abroad and (b) to study whether employees’ openness relates to cross-cultural adjustment as well as job and life satisfaction. We investigated these questions among a sample of 2,096 expatriates. In addition to self-reports of openness and cross-cultural adjustment, ratings of subjects’ adjustment were also obtained from 928 knowledgeable others. The openness facets of actions, ideas, and values appear to be good predictors of acceptance of international assignments. In addition, global Openness and its facets Openness to actions and feelings relate to self- and other ratings of cross-cultural adjustment.

The well-rounded, green MBA

Dilchert, S.
The MBA Series – Guest Articles by Leaders in Business Education.

The MBA Series – Guest Articles by Leaders in Business Education.
What are the lessons we want our future leaders to experience before they take the helm of some of the world’s most impactful organizations?


Dilchert, S., & Ones, D. S.
In W. Sarges (Ed.),
Management-Diagnostik (4th ed., pp. 323-332).
Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.

Gewissenhaftigkeit umfasst – wie die meisten Konstrukte höherer Ordnung – eine Vielzahl zusammenhängender, aber dennoch konzeptionell unterschiedlicher Facetten. Ziel dieses Kapitels ist es, die Bedeutung des psychologischen Konstrukts, einschließlich seiner wichtigsten Facetten, zu skizzieren und eine Übersicht darüber zu geben, wie es mit dem Arbeitsleben von Managern zusammenhängt.

Leben und Arbeiten im Ausland – psychologische Faktoren und Erfolg bei internationalen beruflichen Entsendungen

[Living and working abroad – psychological factors and success in international occupational decisions]
Deller, J., Albrecht, A-G., Ones, D. S., Dilchert, S., & Paulus, F. M.

Berlin Medical, 10, 5-7.

In den vergangenen Jahren haben wir Projekt iGOES (international Generalizability of Expatriate Success Factors) das mit bislang über 2.300 persönlich interviewten Auslandsmitarbeitern weltweit größte interkulturelle wirtschaftspsychologisch diagnostische Forschungsprojekt durchgeführt. Dieser Beitrag schildert in Anlehnung an Deller und Albrecht [l] das Projekt in seinen Grundzügen und berichtet zusätzlich ausgewählte Ergebnisse zur Bedeutung der Persönlichkeitsdimension „Offenheit” für Anpassung als eine Perspektive des Erfolges von Auslandseinsätzen.

Human resources responsibilities: Frequent flyer radiation exposure

Barish, R. J., & Dilchert, S.
Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 22, 361-369.

At the high altitudes that are the domain of commercial airliners, passengers are exposed to cosmic radiation at an intensity that is hundreds of times greater than at ground level. Such radiation exposure represents a risk for individuals who fly frequently as part of their job. Business travelers who fly at least 85,000 miles (137,000 km) per year are likely to receive radiation exposures that exceed the regulatory limit established for members of the general public exposed by proximity to medical or industrial radiation facilities. Their exposures will not, however, exceed the higher level allowed for radiation workers. Human resource managers need to identify those employees who fly frequently on company business or due to a company-initiated relocation (e.g., expatriate assignment), classify them as radiation workers, and ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements for providing risk education and exposure assessment for such workers. Failure to do so may incur potential liability for radiation-related health problems, particularly in the case of pregnant employees where the embryo or fetus is also at risk.

Assessment center dimensions: Individual differences correlates and meta-analytic incremental validity

Dilchert, S., & Ones, D. S.
International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 17, 254-270.

This study provides an investigation of the nomological net for the seven primary assessment center (AC) dimensions identified by Arthur, Day, McNelly, and Eden (Personnel Psychology, 56, 125–154, 2003). In doing so, the authors provide the first robust estimates of the relationships between all primary AC dimensions with cognitive ability and the Big 5 factors of personality. Additionally, intercorrelations between AC dimensions based on sample sizes much larger than those previously available in the meta-analytic literature are presented. Data were obtained from two large managerial samples (total N = 4985). Primary data on AC dimensions, personality, and cognitive ability interrelationships were subsequently integrated with meta-analytic data to estimate incremental validity for optimally and unit-weighted AC dimension composites as well as overall AC ratings over psychometric tests of personality and cognitive ability. Results show that unit- and optimally weighted composites of construct-based AC dimensions add incremental validity over tests of personality and cognitive ability, while overall AC ratings (including those obtained using subjective methods of data combination) do not.

The importance of exercise and dimension factors in assessment centers: Simultaneous examinations of construct-related and criterion-related validity

Lievens, F., Dilchert, S., & Ones, D. S.
Human Performance, 22, 375-390.

This study presents a simultaneous examination of multiple evidential bases of the validity of assessment center (AC) ratings. In particular, we combine both construct-related and criterion-related validation strategies in the same sample to determine the relative importance of exercises and dimensions. We examine the underlying structure of ACs in terms of exercise and dimension factors while directly linking these factors to a work-related criterion (salary). Results from an AC (N = 753) showed that exercise factors not only explained more variance in AC ratings than dimension factors but also were more important in predicting salary. Dimension factors explained a smaller albeit significant portion of the variance in AC ratings and had lower validity for predicting salary. The implications of these findings for AC theory, practice, and research are discussed.

How special are executives? How special should executive selection be? Observations and recommendations

Ones, D. S., & Dilchert, S.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2, 163-170.

Hollenbeck (2009) suggests that executive selection decisions are often wrong and believes that selection of executives should be differentiated from selection at lower levels. In addition, he asserts that by focusing on competencies, rather than characteristics, ‘‘we are doing it backwards.’’ We agree with Hollenbeck that sound personnel selection should start with and be based on personal characteristics rather than amorphous, often ill-defined competencies. Yet, this principle applies to all selection not just executive selection. In order to determine whether executive selection should truly be a special process, two key questions must be asked and answered.

Personality and extrinsic career success: Predicting managerial salary at different organizational levels

Dilchert, S., & Ones, D. S.
Zeitschrift für Personalpsychologie, 7, 1-23.

The relationship between personality and salary was investigated among 4,150 managers. Individuals at five different managerial levels completed a measure of the Big Five personality dimensions as part of a work-related psychological assessment. The validity of personality for predicting salary was examined separately by managerial level, sex, as well as by purpose of assessment (selection versus development). Results indicated that personality predicts managerial salaries with useful levels of validity and thus is valuable for predicting extrinsic career success. While there was no evidence for differential validity by sex or purpose of assessment, results differed across managerial levels, with stronger relationships among the lowest and highest managerial groups (i.e., supervisors and top executives) largely due to increased predictor and criterion score variability.

Peaks and valleys: Predicting interests in leadership and managerial positions from personality profiles

Dilchert, S.
International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 15, 317-334.

This study investigates the relationship between personality and leadership and managerial interests at different levels of the vocational interest taxonomy. Personality scale scores from four different inventories were used to predict vocational interests of 574 adults. Influencing/enterprising interests, leadership and supervisory interests, and job-specific managerial interests (e.g., CEO, Media Executive, Human Resources Director) served as criterion measures. A multiple regression-based pattern recognition procedure recently devised by Davison and Davenport was applied to identify configurations of personality scores relating to these interest criteria. The personality profile pattern predictive of influencing and leadership interests was stable across different managerial domains. Results indicate that personality profile patterns drive the predictive power of personality scores, and that they explain a larger proportion of the variance in influencing and leadership interests compared with individuals’ absolute trait levels.