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.