Culture Shock and Job Expectations Adjustment among Nigerian Self-Initiated Expatriates in the United Kingdom

Oluwadare, Sunday Victor


Purpose: A great number of people in the world today, live and work outside the shores of their nations of origin. It is imperative to investigate how they are faring in the face of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction and the divergent cultural environment of their sojourn in order to correctly harness their inter-cultural usefulness across the globe. This research investigated the factors that influenced the relocation of Nigerians to the United Kingdom and sustained them there, in spite of their job experiences and culture shock.

Methodology/Approach: Methodology triangulation of both questionnaire survey on seventy-six participants and six in-depth interviews was employed. Reflexivity, thick description and grounded theory were the approaches engaged in the data analysis and Interpretation of results.

Findings: The findings revealed that multiple reasons like education, economic, socio-political and personal, are ‘pushing’ Nigerians from home and ‘pulling’ them to the United Kingdom. It was also discovered that the Nigerians in the United Kingdom, are experiencing different forms of job dissatisfaction and culture shock but for some salient reasons, they adjust fairly well to the environment.

Keywords: Self-initiated expatriates, job expectations, culture shock, and socio-cultural adjustment.

Full Text:



Al Ariss, A. A. (2010). Modes of engagement: Migration, self-initiated expatriation, and career development. Career Development International, 15(4), 338-358.

Al Ariss, A., & Özbilgin, M. (2010). Understanding self‐initiated expatriates: Career experiences of Lebanese self‐initiated expatriates in France. Thunderbird International Business Review, 52(4), 275-285.

Altman, Y., & Baruch, Y. (2013). Global self-initiated corporate careerists: what drives them and implications for HRM. In A. Haslberger, & V. Vaiman, (Eds.), Talent Management of Self-Initiated Expatriates: A Neglected Source of Global Talent, pp. 19-29). London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Baruch, Y., Budhwar, P. S., & Khatri, N. (2007). Brain drain: Inclination to stay abroad after studies. Journal of World Business, 42(1), 99-112.

Berry, J. W. (1997). Immigration, acculturation, and adaptation’. Applied Psychology, 46(1), 5-34.

Bhaskar-Shrinivas, P., Harrison, D. A., Shaffer, M. A., & Luk, D. M. (2005). Input-based and time-based models of international adjustment: Meta-analytic evidence and theoretical extensions. Academy of Management Journal, 48(2), 257-281.

Black, J. S., & Stephens, G. K. (1989). The influence of the spouse on American expatriate adjustment and intent to stay in Pacific Rim overseas assignments. Journal of Management, 15(4), 529-544.

Briscoe, D. R., Shuler, R. S., & Tarique, I. (2012). International Human Resource Management. (4th ed.). London: Routledge.

De Haas, H. (2005). International migration, remittances and development: Myths and facts. Third World Quarterly, 26(8), 1269-1284.

Edwards, T., & Rees, C. (2011). International Human Resource Management. (2nd ed.). London: FT Prentice Hall.

Foner, N., & Alba, R. (2010). Immigration and the legacies of the past: the impact of slavery and the holocaust on contemporary immigrants in the United States and Western Europe. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 52(4), 798-819.

Harzing, A-W., & Pinnington, A. H. (2011). International Human Resource Management. (3rd ed.). London: Sage.

Haslberger, A. (2008). Expatriate adjustment. International Human Resource Management: A European Perspective, (21), 130-147.

Healy, G., & Oikelome, F. (2007). Equality and diversity actors: a challenge to traditional industrial relations? Equal Opportunities International, 26(1), 44-65.

Imoagene, O. (2012). Being British vs being American: identification among second-generation adults of Nigerian descent in the US and UK. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(12), 2153-2173.

Iredale, R. R., Guo, F., & Rozario, S. (2003). Return Migration in the Asia Pacific, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Jaime B. (2005). Job satisfaction among expatriates, repatriates and domestic employees: The perceived impact of international assignments on work‐related variables. Personnel Review, 34(1), 110-124.

Kasinitz, P., Mollenkopf, J. H., Waters, M. C., & Holdaway, J. (2009). Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age. Russell Sage Foundation.

Kingston, E., & Forland, H. (2008). Bridging the gap in expectations between international students and academic staff. Journal of Studies in International Education, 12(2), 204-221.

Marecek, J., Fine, M., & Kidder, L. (1997). Working between worlds: qualitative methods and social psychology’, Journal of Social Issues, 53(4), 631-645.

Nankervis, A., Compton, R., & McCarthy, T. (1993). Strategic Human Resource Management, Thomas Nelson Australia, South Melbourne.

Noon, M. (1993). Racial discrimination in speculative application: Evidence from the UK's top 100 firms. Human Resource Management Journal, 3(4), 35-47.

Oberg, K. (2006). Cultural shock: adjustment to new cultural environments, Curare, 29(2), 43-146.

OECD. (2013). International Migration Outlook, Paris: OECD.

Olumide H. B., & Wilfred. I. U. (2012). Brain drain and African development: Any possible gain from the drain? African Journal of Business Management, 6(7), 2421-2428. doi: 10.5897/AJBM11.2385.

Saxenian, A. (2007). The New Argonauts: Regional Advantage in a Global Economy. Harvard University Press.

Schütter, H., & Boerner, S. (2013). Illuminating the work-family interface on international assignments: An exploratory approach. Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, 1(1), 46-71.

Selmer, J. (2001). Expatriate selection: back to basics? International Journal of Human Resource Management, 12(8), 1219-1233.

Stilwell, B., Diallo, K., Zurn, P., Vujicic, M., Adams, O., & Dal Poz, M. (2004). Migration of health-care workers from developing countries: strategic approaches to its management. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 82(8), 595-600.

Stroh, L. K., Gregersen, H. B., & Black, J. S. (1998). Closing the gap: expectations versus reality among repatriates. Journal of World Business, 33(2), 111-124.

Vujicic, M., Zurn, P., Diallo, K., Adams, O., & Dal Poz, M. R. (2004). The role of wages in the migration of health care professionals from developing countries. Human Resources for Health, 2(1), 3-12.

Ward, C. & Kennedy, A. (1992). Locus of control, mood disturbance and social difficulty during cross-cultural transitions. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 16, 175 -194.

Welch, D. E., Welch, L. S., &Worm, V. (2007). The international business traveller: a neglected but strategic human resource. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(2), 173-183.


Copyright (c) 2019 Sunday Victor Oluwadare

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Human Resource Studies  ISSN 2162-3058


Copyright © Macrothink Institute  

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.