Original Research

Expatriate mentoring: The case of a multinational corporation in Abu Dhabi

Desere Kokt, Tommy F. Dreyer
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a974 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.974 | © 2018 Desere Kokt, Tommy F. Dreyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2017 | Published: 22 August 2018

About the author(s)

Desere Kokt, Department of Business Management, Central University of Technology, South Africa
Tommy F. Dreyer, Department of Business Management, Central University of Technology, South Africa

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Orientation: Despite numerous studies on the adjustment challenges faced by expatriates, not much emphasis has been placed on mentoring and what mentoring plans should entail. This also pertains to research on expatriate mentoring in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has experienced massive economic growth and an influx of expatriates from across the globe.

Research purpose: The main purpose of the study was to propose guidelines to a multinational corporation in Abu Dhabi on compiling an expatriate mentoring plan.

Motivation for the study: The prevalence of expatriate assignments to the UAE and the fact that multinational companies report high failure rates served as the motivation for the study.

Research approach/design and method: A mixed-method approach was followed, and a case study design was applied. A structured questionnaire was administered to 391 expatriate employees, after which principles for expatriate mentoring were formulated and presented to a focus group for discussion.

Main findings: The findings show that expatriates faced challenges regarding work-related and personal-level adaptations, which emphasise the need for an expatriate mentoring plan.

Practical/managerial implications: Principles for expatriate mentoring emanated from this study, namely structured interaction, clear objectives, target dates, regular reflection on challenges, formal evaluation and remedial action. These principles informed a proposed expatriate mentoring plan.

Contribution/value-add: The study contributes both theoretically and empirically to the compilation of an expatriate mentoring plan.


globalisation; expatriates; mentoring; challenges; adjustment; multinational corporation; United Arab Emirates; Abu Dhabi


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