Hanne TangeIn a cultural No Man’s Land – or, how long does culture shock last?
This essay is an attempt to combine theories of sojourner adaptation with the
qualitative results of my field work among Scottish immigrants in Copenhagen. I
argue that theories of acculturation often presuppose a limited time-frame; that the
usefulness of Lysgaard’s acculturation model may be questioned; and that companies
lose valuable intercultural competence by recalling sojourners before they have
completed their process of integration. Learning from practice, I argue that sojourners
will change as a result of their stationing overseas; that the intercultural skills
obtained by employees during their sojourn represent a valuable resource for
international business; and that companies have an obligation to assist sojourners
upon their return to their home culture.