COMPARISON OF THE U-CURVE AGAINST THE EXPERIENCES OF AN EXPATRIATE FROM URUGUAY
Author: Rajat Thukral
Date: Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The introduction of global markets and easy access to information has made for a very small world. From the comfort of their homes, many metropolitan citizens can learn about different cultures by watching local films, television programs and reading information on the internet or viewing online clips. Globalization has added to the relevant variables of cross-cultural adaptation that was not present when the U-curve hypothesis was introduced by Lysgaard in 1955. The topic in itself is complex because of the various internal dynamics and external influences expatriates experience in association to their specific culture and the specific host country they visit.
This paper compares the experiences of one female Uruguayan student from 2004 to 2005 through a questionnaire that measures the level of adaptation during three different time intervals as outlined in the U-curve hypothesis. Before the methodology and findings are reviewed, a brief summarization of the U-curve hypothesis along with the subject’s background is offered. In conclusion, the findings do not support the U-curve hypothesis and questions the correctness of this theory in today’s global environment.
THE U-CURVE HYPHOTHESIS
In March, 1953, Sverre Lysgaard interviewed approximately 200 Norwegians on their experiences during their stay in the United States. This was the first empirical study to explore cultural adaptation and it concentrated on the adjustment from two points of view “1) the relationship between different items of adjustment and 2) adjustment as a time process” Lysgaard (1955). On the first point of view, he concluded that all items of adjustment are interconnected and can be generalized (when an expatriate has a positive feeling about one item, it leads to having a positive feeling...