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Spieß, Erika (2017): Interpersonal Networks in Foreign Assignments and Intercultural Learning Processes. In: Glückler, Johannes; Lazega, Emmanuel; Hammer, Ingmar (eds.) : Knowledge and Networks. Knowledge and Space, Vol. 11. Cham: Springer. pp. 53-66
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Abstract

In a world of rapid internationalization and globalization, intercultural competence and learning is gaining importance. However, an analysis of this process must extend beyond the level of the individual to, in accordance with Kurt Levin’s field theory, include influencing factors, such as expatriate employee social networks, cultural processes, and current economic and political environments. Drawing on Kurt Lewin’s field theory as a theoretical framework, the author explains the role of networks, describes an empirical qualitative example of interpersonal networks, discusses the impact of social support in different fields of application, and presents the quantitative results of a study on the staff of small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations on foreign assignments. Research included enhancing and testing a model of the relationship between personal initiative, social support, and adjustment. Findings are discussed regarding their specific meaning for the intercultural learning process and within the framework of field theory.