A lack of cultural adaptation leads most frequently to difficulties during the period of expatriation. The Economist publishing house made a statistical survey in which 418 interviewees from 77 countries report that the biggest challenge for the Expats are cultural and identity conflicts with the personal. Conversely, a lot of personnel managers explain the inability of the foreign employees to get used and to adjust to the cultural aspects of their new country and on the other hand, one third holds the linguistic difficulties responsible for the failure of expatriation. In addition, salary differences between foreign and local staff as well as arrogance on the part of the Expatriates are the causes for conflicts. Another reason for early breaking of a foreign engagement is the discontent of the respective partner with the new way of life in the foreign country.

Problems for Expatriates

9% complain about general absence of respect towards the foreign managers
16% complain about expensive standards of living or bad standards of living
16% complain about a lack of intercultural training before the foreign assignment
25% complain about the arrogance and pretentiousness of foreign managers
28% complain about salary differences between expatriates and local employees
33% complain about the fact that foreign managers are not able to speak the local language
42% complain about different styles of leadership and about working regulations
47% complain about the inability of foreign managers to understand another culture
50% complain about cultural and identity conflicts with the staff
Spring(Source): The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited in 2010

Ideally a potential expatriate should go through a preparatory process of at least six months. During this period and then during the expatriation period there are different phases.