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Running head: FEMALE EXPATRIATES 2
In 1998, Caligiuri and Cascio’s research implied that in those countries that have low
regard for women as professionals, female expatriates, as compared to their male counterparts,
are more likely to be victims of stereotyping by host nations (as cited in Tung & Caligiuri, 1999,
p.764 ). In 1987, Adler, through her research, inferred that even in those cultures that are male-
dominated, especially in South East Asia, female expatriates are as competent as the male
expatriates (as cited in Tung & Caligiuri, 1999, p.764 ). Thus, the business and social culture of
host countries adversely affects the tendency of female expatriates to endeavor in gathering the
necessary managerial experience ultimately leading to a higher number of male expatriates, who
are favored by these cultures.
Malaysia is a rapidly developing economy in Southeast Asia, and is characterized by a
culture that is gradually embracing the significant role of women in top managerial posts. Having
established that women are equally competent in such jobs as their male colleagues, an
International Human Resource Manager (IHRM) hiring only female expatriates ought to look for
unique personal traits that build upon the big five personal attributes: extroversion,
agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Tung & Caligiuri
(1999, p. 719) suggested three other personal attributes that would make a successful mid-level
manager in Malaysia; indirectness in communication, emphasis on co-operation and not
completion, and isolation in a foreign nation.
Malaysian culture, for instance, is not confrontational, thus communication is never
direct. In such a society, the effectiveness of one’s relationship with people depends on how well
they can communicate indirectly. Since the global economy emphasizes more on strategic
alliances, female expatriate managers who focus on building interpersonal relationships (co-
operation) are more likely to succeed in meeting organizational objectives, especially in Asian
Running head: FEMALE EXPATRIATES 3
countries such as Malaysia, where these relationships have a strong footing in business.
Similarly, female expatriates who find it easier to operate in isolation by adapting to the culture
and environment of such a host nation would make an excellent manager. Such adaptations are
enhanced by cultural empathy, knowledge of the host’s national language (Malay), intercultural
competence and emotional stability (Tung & Caligiuri, 1999, p. 779).
Running head: FEMALE EXPATRIATES 4
Caligiuri, P. M., & Tung, R. L. (1999). Comparing the Success of Male and Female Expatriates
from a US-based Multinational Company. International Journal of Human Resource
Management, 10 (5), 763-782