Can Cultural Differences Affect Work Performance When Living Abroad

can-cultural-differences-affect-work-performance-when-living-abroadA recent news report uncovers the fact that the lives of many expats living abroad is noticeably influenced by the cultural factors of the county where they’ve chosen to reside.

The details of the examination were actually obtained as part of larger research operation conducted by known as “Culture and Working Abroad.” The firm’s findings were based on a survey of nearly 15,000 (14,844) expatriates living in various parts of the Middle East. The goal was to obtain data on how these people were able to adapt to the cultural climate of their host countries. Another element was the search for verifiable data that indicated that such factors can affect worker productivity.

Other information offered by proved illuminating concerning the habits and experiences of various expats in certain work situations. For instance, 88% of the expat workers surveyed claimed that they needed a period of adjustment to function better in their new home; this affected their working life.

Only about 6.3% of those who answered the poll suggest that living in a different culture had any affect on their job performance or professional life. About 2.4% were not really sure what sort of impact this transition had on their performance.

Of those polled, about 34% noted that even though working abroad did affect their work habits and lifestyle, their productivity was not seriously compromised. On the other side, 20% of expats already living and working overseas suggested that new foreign workers have slim chances of attaining the same performances that they did in their home country. Only about 29% said they could work in another country only if they believed they could overcome the initial cultural shock in a short period of time.

“[The results] demonstrate that professionals moving to new countries for the purpose of employment expect new cultural norms to influence their lives—at home, at work, or both,” said Amer Zureikat, Regional Manager of

Zureikat went on to say that, “The fact that 20% of those surveyed make a distinction between cultural impacts on lifestyle, versus impacts on productivity, is a fascinating result.  It may signal that some people have more effective strategies for acclimatizing to new working environments. If it were possible to identify these strategies and share them with new expat employees, both staff and employers could benefit.”