The return back home of the expatriate family is an aspect of expat life that is often overlooked by those responsible for human resources. Much corporate effort is put into a successful expatriation of a family. Its return, however, is assumed to be natural and its reintegration a matter of time. But this is often not the case.
Understanding cultural differences is complex and models are available to provide some guidance. Professor Geert Hofstede has described a number of basic social dilemmas and the way societies have dealt with them for centuries and still deal with them today. Awareness of these dilemmas will help the returning expat grasp the essentials of the culture he is leaving behind and compare these with those of a culture he was born and raised in. In this article, Jan Vincent Meertens discusses how a deeper understanding of cultural differences will improve repatriation and reviews one of these cultural dimensions in relation to employment, and leadership in particular.