Department of Management

Person-environment fit and emotional control: Assigned expatriates vs. self-initiated expatriates

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Studies exploring the difference of assigned expatriates (AEs) and self-initiated expatriates (SIEs) have recently started to emerge. However, so far few results have been connected to theory developed in this area. In the current study, we use responses from 324 business expatriates in China and take departure in the two elements of the person-environment fit theory, supplementary fit and complementary fit. We use the supplementary fit element of this theory to explain why emotional control (low dispositional anger and high self-control) increases performance and satisfaction in China. We rely on the complementary element of person-environment fit theory for understanding why this effect may vary between AEs and SIEs. Our argument is that as opposed to SIEs, AEs could add contact and knowledge from the parent company to the local organization thus complementing it. Our findings, with regard to supplementary fit, show that self-control has a positive association with both job performance and job satisfaction while trait anger has a negative effect on job satisfaction. In relation to complementary fit, also as expected, we found a buffering moderation effect of being AE, meaning that the negative effect of their trait anger on job satisfaction was diminished for this group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Business Review
Pages (from-to)982-992
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Anger, Assigned expatriates, Emotions, Person-environment fit, Personality, Self-control, Self-initiated expatriates

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