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Article: Are former TCKs the ideal candidate for  business expatriates?

Selmer & Lam, 2004. Career Development International v9 n2 (2004) 109-122

  • The results unequivocally suggest that TCKs' perception of being international and their characteristics are different than that of their adolescent peers in both host and home countries. 

  • Findings support the claims and anecdotal evidence of the development of third-cultureness.


  • Authors indicated that their findings support the move for firms to consider recruiting adult, former TCKs as business expatriates for overseas assignments.

See below for more details on Abstract and findings. 

Researchers conducted research on 3 groups of adolescents:-
a) 63 British TCKs who were born in UK, sample with a mean age of 14.11 (SD= 1.63) years.

b) 88 local British adolescents living in the UK, sample with a mean age of 14.66 (SD= 1.41) years.
c) 103 local Hong Kong ethnic Chinese adolescents living in Hong Kong; born in HK with no experience of living. Respondents had a mean age of 17.42 (SD = 0.99) years old.

 

by Hon LamJan Selmer

Career Development International vol. 9 Issue 2. 2004. 109-122. doi:10.1108/13620430410526166

Abstract:

Third-culture kids (TCKs) are adolescents who have lived at least one of their formative years in another country.


This study compares survey data collected from British TCKs who were currently living in Hong Kong with those of their adolescent peers living in the UK and Hong Kong.


  • The results unequivocally suggest that TCKs' perception of being international and their characteristics are different than that of their adolescent peers in both host and home countries.

  • More than the other adolescents, TCKs indicated that:

    • international experience,

    • parental and institutional education,

    • a second language,

    • neutrality,

    • open-mindedness and flexibility,

    • attitudes towards other systems and cultures, r

    • espect for others,

    • tolerance of others' behaviour and views,

all contributed to the perception of being international.


  • Similarly, TCKs had distinctive characteristics in terms of stronger family relationships, enjoying travelling to foreign places, acceptance of foreign languages, acceptance of cultural differences, and future orientation.

  • Implications for international firms of these fundamental findings are discussed in detail.

  • Measures: 2 instruments used

    • Hayden et al. (2000): Perception of being international. Used in study for  international school students and teachers. 

    • Gerner and Perry's (2000): International Mobile Adolescent Questionnaire.

 

Recruitment of Adult TCKs as a source for international human resources

Implications

They indicated that their findings support the move for firms to consider recruiting adult, former TCKs as business expatriates for overseas assignments.

Franke and Nicholson (2002) generated an expert ranking of the most important criteria of business expatriates. These were:

  • spousal support;

  • communication skills;

  • interpersonal sensitivity; and

  • cultural and social interests.

The authors opined that TCKs fulfil several, if not all, of these criteria.

In addition, TCKs' future orientation in working international careers and living outside of their home country would render them potential good candidates for international firms.