Project Seminar “Psychological Contracts of Expatriates in Asia and Europe”

Module Description:




Multinational corporations (MNCs) strongly rely on international assignees (expatriates) to either complete a time-based task or organizational goal, to redress the shortage of skilled labor or to pursue career and development opportunities. Although the use of expatriates is not a new concept to MNCs their value and application continue to rise. While international assignments can be of great value if they succeed, they may cause significant costs to both the MNCs and individuals if they fail. In response to high failure rates of expatriate assignments, there has been significant demand for research on interventions and individual (demographic and psychographic) factors that could increase the likelihood of successful assignments. Past research has identified cross-cultural training, individual factors such as personality and cultural intelligence organizational support as well as adaptation strategies as important means. One underexplored area in the expatriate literature relates to expatriate expectations and perceptions of psychological contract breach that arises from two sources – the assigning parent company and the receiving host company. The psychological contract captures expatriate’s beliefs about terms and conditions of the exchange relationship with the employer. If the employer fails to fulfill his obligations, a perception of contract violation is created, which adversely influences the assignments outcomes regardless of whether the perception of the expatriate is justified or not. In this regard, scholars have outlined that psychological contracts are cultural-bound and cultural values play a significant role how expatriates psychological contracts are formed and how they are perceived by the individuals.

Aims and Scope

The aim of this seminar is to explore the effects of culture on expatriate psychological contracts in an Asian and European context and to provide recommendations on how to improve the assignment conditions to secure the fulfillment of expatriates’ expectations.

The students will learn about theoretical concepts and empirical methods and how to apply them to current questions in the field of international management. The seminar is limited to 15 students and can be used for the elective courses in Asia and Europe.




will be announced in the course.


Course Frequency:

summer term (SS), on occasion

Admission Regulations:

  • Mandatory registration for the seminar on StudOn and MeinCampus.
  • Required attendance in all announced meetings (kick-off and presentation sessions). If absent at one meeting, the partial performance is evaluated with 5.0.


  • Presentations:             40 %
  • Seminar paper:             60 %

Examination Number:



Responsible assistant

PD Dr. Tassilo Schuster: