Exploration of the adjustment methods and coping styles employed by expatriates in Kenya
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A conceptualized exploration study was applied to the examination of expatriates’ behaviors to identify adjustment methods and coping styles. The research addressed difficulties expatriates experience, and coping styles used, in the adjustment to professional and sociocultural aspects of living abroad in Kenya. Therefore, data was randomly collected from 20 expatriates permanently living and working in Kenya for a time period of at least four (4) weeks, among informants aged 18 years of age and above. The participants were recruited from expatriate specific social media outlets, and voluntarily provided open-ended responses to questionnaires addressing specific professional and socio-cultural aspects such as communication, safety, relationships and environment. Participants reported using the professional adjustment method of separation with passive coping, and socio-cultural adjustment method of integration with active coping, in preference to other adjustment methods. A content analysis was used to analyze data with a predetermined template of conceptualized themes. Open-ended responses where coded, organized and analyzed based on the themes of professional adjustment, socio-cultural adjustment, and coping styles. The findings indicate increased adjustment difficulties that negatively affect behavior when participants employed marginalization and separation adjustment methods, and fewer difficulties when employing integration or assimilation adjustment methods. Actively seeking external support from others, engaging in community based activities, and merging cultural norms are predictors of satisfactory adjustment for expatriates in Kenya.
University of Nairobi