1 THE INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENTS OF PEACEKEEPERS: WHAT DRIVES THEM TO SEEK FUTURE EXPATRIATION? IJ. HETTY VAN EMMERIK AND MARTIN C. EUWEMA From a social learning perspective, factors predicting seeking future international assignments and that are more or less under control of the human resource management department through training were examined. We tested our hypotheses on data from 745 Dutch peacekeepers. It appears that preparation, adventurism, and cultural empathy are important factors in willingness to expatriate again. Peacekeepers scoring high on self-efficacy are more willing to accept future international assignments than peacekeepers scoring low on self-efficacy. Further, the relationship between adventurism and seeking future international assignments is stronger for peacekeepers scoring high on self-efficacy than for peacekeepers scoring low on self-efficacy Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Keywords: international assignments, peacekeeping operations, intercultural competencies, self-efficacy Managing international assignments has been challenging and complex for both organizations and employees (Shaffer, Harrison, Gregersen, Black, & Ferzandi, 2006 ). Increasing numbers of organizations recognize the value of expatriates that is, people who work and live abroad for extended periods of time and thus are major contributors to global development of economies and organizations (Sklair, 2001 ; Stiglitz, 2006 ). However, all too often, international assignment objectives are not being met. The high rate of uncompleted or otherwise unsuccessful assignments is very costly for organizations (Eschbach, Parker, & Stoeberl, 2001 ; Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2002; Stroh, Black, Mendenhall, & Gregersen, 2005 ). From the employee s perspective, international assignments may have many benefits, but they also may have serious drawbacks. In addition to providing exciting and developmental experiences, international assignments can be stressful, which may show up in substance abuse, broken marriages, and other family problems (Stroh et al., 2005 ). Tu and Sullivan ( 1994 ) calculated that seven out of ten managers believe that their time spent on an international assignment had a negative impact on their career up to 40% of expatriate managers terminate their assignments early. Correspondence to: IJ. Hetty van Emmerik, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 1, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands, Phone: , Fax: , Human Resource Management, January February 2009, Vol. 48, No. 1, Pp Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: /hrm.20270
2 136 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, JANUARY FEBRUARY 2009 In the present study we will look at a special type of international assignment namely, the expatriation or deployment of peacekeepers (i.e., military and police officers). Peacekeepers or Blue Helmets as they are often called monitor and observe peace processes that emerge in postwar or postconflict situations and help conflicting parties implement the peace agreement they have signed (United Nations, 2006 ). Peacekeepers must be able to operate at a procedural level within a multinational environment. This implies not only sharing the daily routine within the intercultural context, but also being prepared to comply with United Nations (UN) or European Peacekeepers or Union (EU) operational and administrative procedures (Socin & Blue Helmets as Dugone, 2001 ). In addition to the challenges they are often of expatriation in the business called monitor context, military peacekeepers are placed in a highly dangerous and and observe peace conflict-prone context. Recent research has begun documenting processes that numerous sources of stress for emerge in postwar peacekeepers, including boredom, isolation, family separation, environmental stressors, and ambigui- or postconflict ties regarding self-defense (Britt, situations and help Adler, & Bartone, 2001 ). Further, conflicting parties peacekeepers are initially trained to be soldiers. However, they have implement the to internalize a completely different viewpoint for peacekeeping, peace agreement such as developing a different attitude toward war: As soldiers who they have signed. have been trained for war, they now have to avoid it by all means (Socin & Dugone, 2001 ). Recently, Stoddard and Harmer ( 2006 ) summarized three challenges to peacekeeping: (1) peacekeepers are at pains to preserve a neutral stance in politicized environments; (2) peacekeepers maintain operational independence in environments where the political pressure increases; and (3) peacekeepers perceive a greater threat to physical security than ever before as incidents of violence against aid workers appear to be on the rise. The challenges peacekeepers confront may have profound effects on the propensity to seek future expatriation, and the military organization is dependent on previously deployed military to fulfill demand. Usually the length of deployment is four to six months, which means that peacekeepers frequently have several successive international assignments. Moreover, with the increasing demand for peacekeeping operations, it is important to know what factors predict seeking future deployment and what aspects are important for peacekeepers to avoid in future assignments. It is important to note that most deployments are not voluntary because military units are assigned for peacekeeping operations. Procedures for assignment differ among countries and for different types of missions. For example, Dutch volunteers were deployed for UN or EU observer missions, whereas whole units were deployed for Kosovo Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) or Security Force (SFOR) missions in Bosnia. It is noteworthy that these units are often empowered with additional officers and specialists to perform their mission. Military officers could volunteer for these positions. Since motivation and willingness to be engaged in missions abroad can be vitally important for the unit s morale, peacekeepers are also stimulated to actively seek future expatriation by volunteering for deployment. The present study makes a new contribution to current literature on international assignments. Peacekeepers international assignments differ in several respects from other international assignments. In the present study, we will examine factors that predict seeking future international assignments and that are more or less under control of the human resource department through personnel selection and/or training (i.e., better preparation before expatriation, extending intercultural competencies, and improving self-efficacy). The International Assignments of Peacekeepers During the last 25 years, the UN has engaged in more than 50 peacekeeping and peace-enforcing operations, deploying close
3 The International Assignments of Peacekeepers: What Drives Them to Seek Future Expatriation? 137 to 1 million soldiers from various countries to missions worldwide. Currently, there are more than 67,000 military personnel and civilian police serving in UN peacekeeping missions (United Nations, 2006 ). In addition, other international institutions such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Economic Union of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as individual countries (for example, the United Kingdom and South Africa), have sent military peacekeepers into conflict situations. Differences Between Expatriation in the Business Context and the International Assignments of Peacekeepers Generally, there are various explanations for the high rate of unsuccessful international assignments (Kealey, Protheroe, MacDonald, & Vulpe, 2005 ). First, expatriation signifies living in a completely different national culture; this may lead to disorientation brought on by culture shock, especially in the initial stage of the assignment. The second reason Kealey et al. ( 2005 ) mention is the decreased efficacy of organizational processes. For instance, supplies may be less assured, personnel may not be as available as at home, employee morale may suffer being away from family, and there may be difficulties in communication between the expatriates and headquarter s managers. Third, special difficulties may arise because the expatriates are confronted with the different situations, interests, and incentives of local and foreign companies and their workers (Bhaskar-Shrinivas, Harrison, Shaffer, & Luk, 2005 ). Assignments for military peacekeepers differ in several respects from other international assignments. An important difference is the length of deployment. Often military personnel are sent for three to six months, whereas civilian expatriates usually are sent for longer periods (mostly several years), which produces different consequences for social and personal life. Another difference is the social context. Peacekeepers typically go in a military group of people from their home country or from different countries their families stay home, and the social bonding among the peacekeepers is strong, even after returning from the assignment. Civilians usually go on assignment with their family and people from local communities. Another difference for peacekeepers is the often hostile environment they are confronted with when on assignment. Peacekeepers may experience additional challenges compared with expatriates in the business context because peacekeeping operations are associated with high-stressor intensity. During their expatriation, peacekeepers can be exposed to life-threatening situations such as shootings, being taken hostage, and hostile reactions from the local people. They may also witness severe human distress, such as starving, sick, or wounded people. Peacekeepers must often restrain their reactions and have to maintain their neutral role. Thus, Assignments peacekeeping operations make for military great demands on peacekeepers peacekeepers (Dirkzwager, Bramsen, & Van Der Ploeg, 2005 ). Peacekeepers must differ in several be able to comply with the UN or EU military member s profile. The respects from additional challenges and the major societal significance of peace- other international keepers successful international assignments. assignments make it important to examine the push-and-pull factors in accepting international assignments. Most military peacekeepers are assigned to international assignments, which implies that they are not completely free to take or reject an assignment. The contrast to international business assignments, however, should not be overstated. International assignments are usually an important element in management development programs, and the degree of freedom to reject such assignments may also be limited. Further, as mentioned earlier, under some conditions peacekeepers can volunteer and seek future expatriation. Why and under which circumstances are military officers attracted to these dangerous adventures? Do they feel sufficiently prepared for deployment? And how
4 138 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, JANUARY FEBRUARY 2009 are circumstances and preparation related to seeking future international assignments? Seeking Future International Assignments Different factors that may influence seeking international assignments include job content; opportunities for personal, professional, and career development; personal and domestic issues; location; and financial considerations (Dickmann, Doherty, Mills, & Brewster, 2008 ). In this study we focus on factors related to social learning, which, in this context, implies the processes of socialization and development as a peacekeeper through vocational From the human training and the development of resource perceived self-efficacy as a peacekeeper ( Littrell, Salas, Hess, Paley, management & Riedel, 2006 ). Previous experiences, reflection on them, and perspective, further training are social learning processes concerned with ac- preparation for quiring new, acceptable roles and international tasks and identification with the peacekeeper role (Wanous, Reichers, & Malik, 1984 ). Perceived assignments is competencies can be conceptualized as social learning experiences, an important step associated with and peacekeepers ultimate view about their competencies may willingness to be viewed in terms of the selfevaluations that are reinforced sign up for future by the environment. Socialization-related learning factors, such deployment. as preparation and training, are focused on enhancing competencies and increasing the likelihood of successful adaptation (McAllister & Bigley, 2002 ). Social learning in this respect is closely related with perceived self-efficacy, which is the level of confidence individuals have in their ability to accomplish tasks ( Bandura, 1978 ). In line with Bandura, Luthans and Youssef ( 2007 ) emphasize self-efficacy as a state-like (as opposed to trait-like) psychological resource related to specific tasks within a given context. Self-efficacy appears to be one of the most important correlates of cross-cultural adjustment (Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al., 2005 ; Harrison, Chadwick, & Scales, 1996 ). A range of factors can be expected to influence initial willingness to expatriate, including organizational tenure, job tenure, career satisfaction, propensity to remain a member of the organization, and a variety of factors outside the job sphere (Landau, Shamir, & Arthur, 1992 ). The factors influencing initial willingness to expatriate can be expected to be different from the acceptance of further international assignments, mainly due to the experience of having been deployed already. If a peacekeeper has been deployed in the past, he or she may have developed the attitudes and skills necessary to adjust to expatriation. Only a limited number of studies have examined employee willingness to relocate. According to Eby and Russell ( 2000 ), much of this research has yielded mixed results. For example, some studies have found that background factors (e.g., no children or being married to a homemaker spouse) predicted employee willingness to move, whereas other studies have found opposite or nonsignificant relationships between background variables and willingness to move (see, for instance, Brett & Reilly, 1988; Gould & Penley, 1985 ). Estimates of business expatriates willingness to accept new international assignments differ grossly. Forster ( 2000 ) suggests that only 13% of the expatriates would definitely accept future international assignments and contends that it is psychologically impossible for most people to cope with the dislocation and upheaval that regular international relocations would cause. However, Riusala and Suutari ( 2000 ) report in their study among Finnish expatriates that 91% were interested in new foreign assignments, whereas 59% of the Finnish expatriates would go for (more) permanent expatriation. Given the extra challenges of international assignments, peacekeepers may be cautious when it comes to seeking future international assignments. After initial expatriation, the decision of deploying again will probably be considerably influenced by the experiences of earlier international assignments. For instance, the experience of dis-
5 The International Assignments of Peacekeepers: What Drives Them to Seek Future Expatriation? 139 rupting family and community life and factors relating to work life (such as more work stress) may make peacekeepers withdraw from future international assignments. In the next sections, we will examine factors that are more or less under control of the HR department and are thought to be important in predicting the seeking of future international assignments: (1) preparation, (2) intercultural competencies, and (3) self-efficacy. Preparation for International Assignments From the human resource management perspective, preparation for international assignments is an important step associated with willingness to sign up for future deployment (Tu & Sullivan, 1994 ). Preparation for international assignments is a social learning process in which an expatriate acquires social skills through observation and practice (Littrell et al., 2006 ). It comprises a body of cross-cultural skills and knowledge all expatriates need, as well as specialized skills (e.g., negotiation, teamwork) some workers require (Kealey et al., 2005 ). Adequate preparation includes considering behaviors in which people are likely to engage during their international assignment, introducing reasons for these behaviors as seen by people in the other culture, considering the emotional implications that accompany the behavior, and using this new knowledge as a starting point for learning about other behaviors and broader concepts that will increase cultural competence levels (Brislin, Worthley, & Macnab, 2006 ). Obviously, peacekeepers must be specially trained to fulfill their tasks. For instance, according to Socin and Dugone ( 2001 ), they must have a good command of the official language of the mission. They also must be trained in map reading, driving, mine awareness, first aid, crowd control, and other basic combat skills. Preparing expatriates through training programs may have a strong and positive impact on cross-cultural skills development, cross-cultural adjustability, and individuals job performance (Deshpande & Viswesvaran, 1992 ; Eschbach et al., 2001; Littrell et al., 2006 ). Thus, when peacekeepers positively evaluate their preparation for the mission, the chance of accepting future international assignments will increase and this reasoning leads to our first hypothesis. H1: Preparation is positively associated with seeking future international assignments for peacekeepers. Intercultural Competencies For the present From the HRM perspective, study, we selected the second aspect to ensure willingness to sign up for future deployment is to focus on three types of intercultural training of intercultural competencies the abilities to think and competencies that act in interculturally appropriate ways (Hammer, Bennett, & appeared to be Wiseman, 2003 ). This is also referred to as intercultural communication competence, cross- especially relevant to the success cultural competence, intercultural sensitivity, and intercultural effectiveness (see Gibson & Zhong, of international 2005 ). Much research in intercultural competencies has focused on assignments of peacekeepers: specific communicative behaviors that are appropriate and effective sensitivity to other for individual ethnic groups and on the development of instruments for measuring these spe- people, cultural empathy, and cific communicative behaviors. Acquiring intercultural competencies involves learning from adventurism/ social interactions that this is a curiosity. powerful way to transfer people s experiences into knowledge and skills. Improving intercultural competencies means paying attention to and appreciating critical differences in culture and background between oneself and others (Thomas, 2006 ). For the present study, we selected three types of intercultural competencies that appeared to be especially relevant to the success of international assignments of peacekeepers: sensitivity to other people, cultural empathy, and adventurism/curiosity.
6 140 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, JANUARY FEBRUARY 2009 Sensitivity to Other People This refers to a warm and sympathetic interest in other people, including the ability to empathize with the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of different cultural groups. It s not surprising that sensitivity to other people is strongly related to agreeableness (Van der Zee, Zaal, & Piekstra, 2003 ). Therefore, we expect that this competency is associated with cooperation when working with people from another culture. known to contribute to expatriates effective adjustment, such as openness to experience and extraversion (Huang et al., 2005 ; Van der Zee et al., 2003 ), and this reasoning leads to the formulation of the second hypothesis. H2: Cultural competencies associated with peacekeepers seeking future international assignments include (1) more sensitivity to other people, (2) more cultural empathy, and (3) more adventurism. HR departments designing cross-cultural training programs are commonly advised to include material that enhances trainees Cultural Empathy This refers to an open-minded and unprejudiced attitude toward other cultures and toward different cultural norms and values. Cultural empathy may be one of the most important psychological predispositions for effective intercultural performance, and lack of it creates a definite barrier to effective adjustment and job performance (Cui & Awa, 1992 ; Huang, Chi, & Lawler, 2005 ). self-efficacy in Adventurism/Curiosity order to support This is the tendency to search adjustment and to and explore new situations and to regard them as a challenge promote success in (Van der Zee & Van Oudenhoven, 2000 ). International employees expatriation. should be interested in new and unknown situations; they should feel attracted to the unknown and experience it as a challenge. Researchers have paid relatively little attention to this dimension and the pleasure people might have in traveling, feeling at ease in strange cultural environments, experiencing adventures in these new environments, and meeting new people and unknown social situations. Although adventurism is no longer in the revised Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (Van der Zee et al., 2003 ), expatriates who have adventurism might be more likely to seek international assignments. This concept is related to personality characteristics Self-Efficacy As we discussed, self-efficacy refers to beliefs that one has in the abilities and resources to succeed at a specific task in this case, the international assignment (Bandura, 1997 ). HR departments designing cross-cultural training programs are commonly advised to include material that enhances trainees self-efficacy in order to support adjustment and to promote success in expatriation (Templer, Tay, & Chandrasekar, 2006 ). According to social learning theory, individuals tend to be motivated to perform specific tasks or to engage in certain behaviors when they perceive they have the ability to do so (LePine, Podsakoff, & LePine, 2005 ). Self-efficacy, according to Wood and Bandura ( 1989 ), affects the challenges a person undertakes, the amount of effort he or she expends in an endeavor, whether thinking patterns are self-aiding or self-impeding, and vulnerability to stress and depression. Job-related self-efficacy is usually seen as a state (as opposed to a trait). Military staff members might perceive themselves as high on selfefficacy in combat but feel insecure as a peacekeeper. Also, peacekeeping missions vary in context and type of tasks that have to be performed. Previous experiences, reflection on them, and additional training therefore can contribute to a peacekeeper s self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is indeed a strong predictor of cross-cultural adjustment (Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al., 2005 ; Harrison et al., 1996 ), as well as positive attitudes toward critical career events (Mignonac, 2008 ). It may play a role in ex-
7 The International Assignments of Peacekeepers: What Drives Them to Seek Future Expatriation? 141 plaining the motivational effects of overcoming intercultural challenges. If a person believes that he or she is capable of effective job performance, those beliefs should strengthen outcome expectations and accordingly strengthen the seeking of international assignments. For instance, peacekeepers with high self-efficacy will have positive outcome expectations and therefore will be more willing to seek international assignments than peacekeepers with low self-efficacy, and this reasoning leads to the formulation of the third hypothesis. H3: Self-efficacy is positively associated with peacekeepers seeking future international assignments. Self-efficacy may not only be directly related to seeking international assignments, but it can also be expected to moderate the relationship between social learning processes (i.e., preparation and enhancing intercultural competencies) and outcomes. Peacekeepers with high self-efficacy may be better able to seek, integrate, and interpret information since they are more focused on task requirements (Bandura, 1997 ). Brown, Ganeson, and Challagalla ( 2001 ) found that self-efficacy moderates the effectiveness of information-seeking regarding role expectations and performance. Greater task focus should enable individuals with high self-efficacy to accurately interpret information. In contrast, individuals with low self-efficacy may doubt their ability to accurately interpret information from, for instance, training on preparation for the assignment and intercultural competencies (Brown et al., 2001 ). Further, it is important to note that Colquitt, LePine, and Noe ( 2000 ) found that efficacy relates to transfer of training that is independent of skill acquisition. These authors noted that training researchers have traditionally focused on training methods and training settings to promote learning. However, in their study, they observed that even with constant training methods, some trainees learned more than others. The set of individual and situational characteristics that can be leveraged to improve training motivation and learning has yet to be researched. To build on Hypothesis 1 and Hypothesis 2, we therefore predict that individuals with high self-efficacy use preparation for mission and their cultural competences more effectively than individuals with low selfefficacy do. This improves their expectations about future expatriation and thereby increases the chance of seeking future international assignments, and this leads to the formulation of two interaction hypotheses. H4: Self-efficacy moderates the relationship between preparation and seeking future international assignments. More specifically, the relationship between preparation and seeking international assignments will be stronger for peacekeepers scoring high on self-efficacy than for peacekeepers scoring low on self-efficacy. H5: Self-efficacy moderates the relationship between cultural competences and seeking future international assignments. More specifically, the relationship between cultural competencies and seeking future international assignments will be stronger for peacekeepers scoring high on self-efficacy than for peacekeepers scoring low on self-efficacy. Method Respondents and Procedure Data were collected from Dutch military peacekeepers involved in many recent UN and NATO peacekeeping operations. Peacekeeping is a core part of the mission statement of the UN. Developed in close collaboration with military staff, the questionnaire was sent to the home address of 1,703 Dutch military peacekeepers, all of whom acted as peacekeepers in missions between 1995 and A total of 907 questionnaires were returned, for a response rate of 53%. Due to missing values, we used 745 participants in the final analysis 730 men and 15 women. The mean age of the respondents was 40.9 years (SD = 7.9 years). The mean years of working experience was 20.3 years (SD = 9.0 years). The mean length of expatria-
8 142 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, JANUARY FEBRUARY 2009 tion for the last two international assignments was 8.3 months (SD = 3.8 months). Seventy percent of the respondents were officers, and 30% were noncommissioned officers. Measures We measured seeking future international assignments with one direct question: Have you actively taken initiative to be deployed again? If the respondent had not actively taken initiative to Self-efficacy may not only be directly be deployed again, we coded the response 0; if the respondent answered yes on this question, we coded the response 1. related to seeking international assignments, We measured preparation with three self-developed items: (1) In my opinion, management has me prepared sufficiently for this mission, (2) There was enough time but it can also be expected to to prepare myself for the mission, and (3) There was enough time to prepare my family for the mission. We scored the items on a 5- moderate the point Likert scale (1 = completely relationship between social learning processes (i.e., preparation and enhancing intercultural competencies) and insufficient, 5 = completely sufficient). Cronbach s alpha was.80. This response referred to the respondent s last mission, which was explained in the introduction of the survey. We measured intercultural competencies with items based on one of the earlier versions of the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (see Van der Zee & Van Oudenhoven, 2000 ; Van der Zee outcomes. et al., 2003 ). Factor analysis on the intercultural competencies resulted in the expected three dimensions. Cultural empathy consisted of four items for example, I have taken an interest in other religions. Sensitivity to other people consisted of eight items for example, I understand other people s feelings. Adventurism consisted of five items for example, I like traveling. Total variance explained after factor analysis with varimax rotation was 47%, eigenvalues of all three factors were >1, and all items loaded on the expected dimensions. The items were scored on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = completely disagree, 5 = completely agree). Reliabilities of the three scales are acceptable: Cronbach s alpha for cultural empathy is.77,.78 for open-mindedness, and.65 for adventurism. Following Bandura ( 1978, 1997 ), we measured self-efficacy in terms of the peacekeepers expectations that they can successfully execute the behavior required to produce certain outcomes. We based the items on intercultural self-efficacy and general self-efficacy scales (Milstein, 2005 ; Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995 ). Given limitations of our research, we used a self-efficacy scale that consisted of four items contextualized for peacekeeping work: (1) During the mission, I noticed that I am capable of working with people from other cultures, (2) During the mission, I received appreciation for my skills in coping with cultural differences, (3) During the mission, others said that I am suitable for deployment to crisis area, and (4) I think I am good for working at international peacekeeping missions. Note that the first three evaluate the previous experiences as peacekeeper, whereas the fourth item focuses on efficacy as a peacekeeper. We scored the items on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = completely disagree, 5 = completely agree). Cronbach s alpha was.74. We measured age in years and rank in 12 job categories (from 1 = sergeant to 12 = general). Experienced peacekeepers may be less distressed because they know what to expect of the international assignments, and this may influence their willingness to seek new expatriation. Therefore, we included length of the participation in peacekeeping operations (measured in months). Data Analysis Common method variance can be considered an artifact of measurement that biases results when relations are explored among constructs measured in the same way (Spector, 1987 ). Because the variables are self-reported and collected at a single point in time, we conducted Harman s one-factor test (Harman, 1967 ) to investigate the potential influence of com-
9 The International Assignments of Peacekeepers: What Drives Them to Seek Future Expatriation? 143 mon method variance on study results. The underlying assumption of Harman s one-factor test is that if a substantial amount of common method variance exists in the data, either a single factor will emerge or one general factor will account for the majority of the variance among the variables. We entered all items on the five scales into a single-factor analysis that yielded precisely the expected five factors. The five factors accounted for 53% of the variance and correspond to the five predictor variables. Factor 1 accounted for 24% of the variance. Since a single factor did not emerge and one general factor did not account for most of the variance, common method variance is unlikely to be a serious problem in the data. However, we also have to acknowledge that common method variance may not be an issue of concern in this study because almost all variables included in it (apart from preparation ) were attitudinal; hence, they could be measured only by means of self-reports (Schmitt, 1994 ; Spector, 1994 ). Given that seeking future deployment is dichotomous in nature (i.e., it is seeking or not seeking future deployment), we used logistic regression analysis to test the hypotheses. In logistic regression analysis, the coefficients of the independent variables are used to explain the likelihood of seeking to serve again on an international assignment. For the interpretation of the results, it is important to keep in mind that logistic regression reports unstandardized instead of standardized (i.e., beta) regression coefficients. We entered the variables into the logistic regression equation in four steps: control variables in the first step, preparation and the three intercultural competences in the second step, the (moderator) variable selfefficacy in the third step, and the interaction terms obtained by multiplying the moderator variable by the independent variables in the fourth step. We used the centering procedure Aiken and West ( 1991 ) suggest for computing the interaction terms. We used the Hosmer and Lemeshow Goodness-of-Fit test to test how effectively the three models described the outcome variable. For all three estimated models, this test statistic was greater than.05, which implies that the estimates of all three models fit the data quite well (Hosmer & Lemeshow, 2000 ). Results Descriptive Statistics Table I presents the means, standard deviations, and correlation coefficients for all variables included in the study. As the table shows, the correlations between the three cultural competencies, preparation, and selfefficacy are low to moderately high. The correlations between these variables and seeking future international assignments also are low to moderately high. Following Bandura Twenty percent of the peacekeepers said they were actively seeking (1978, 1997), we future international assignments. measured selfefficacy in terms of Testing Associations With Seeking Future International Assignments the peacekeepers Table II shows the results of the expectations logistic regression analyses for the military peacekeepers. Model 1 that they can (control variables, preparation, and successfully intercultural competencies) appears to explain 17% of the variation in execute the actively seeking new assignments. Addition of self-efficacy in Model 2 behavior required (contextual variables) accounts for to produce certain 1% of the variation. Addition of the interactions in Model 3 accounts outcomes. also for 1% of the variation. According to Hypothesis 1, preparation is positively associated with seeking future international assignments. Model 2 shows that preparation indeed is positively associated with seeking future expatriation ( b =.38, p <.01), thereby lending support for Hypothesis 1. Hypothesis 2 predicted that cultural competencies are associated with seeking future international assignments. Model 2 shows that cultural empathy ( b =.58, p <.01) and adventurism ( b =.70, p <.01) are indeed positively related to seeking future international assignments. However, sensitivity to other people is not re-
10 144 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, JANUARY FEBRUARY 2009 TABLE I Means, Standard Deviations, and Pearson Correlations (N=745) 1. Seeking future expatriation Mean SD Rank * 3. Age ** 4. Length of **.08*.18** expatriation 5. Preparation ** ** 6. Sensitivity for **.09* other people 7. Adventurism **.01.10**.21**.07.31** 8. Empathy for **.14**.11**.12**.10**.54**.32** other cultures 9. Self-efficacy ** **.14**.46**.45**.43** *p <.05 **p <.01 lated to seeking future deployment. Thereby, Hypothesis 2 receives partial support. According to Hypothesis 3, self-efficacy is positively associated with seeking future international assignments. Model 2 shows that preparation indeed appears to be positively associated with actively seeking new assignments ( b =.52, p <.01), thereby lending support for Hypothesis 3. Testing the Moderating Role of Self-Efficacy According to Hypothesis 4, self-efficacy moderates the relationship between preparation and seeking future international assignments. This hypothesis is not supported. As Model 3 of Table II shows, two interaction terms added to the prediction of seeking future international assignments. Following Aiken and West s ( 1991 ) recommendations, we plotted graphical displays of these relationships to facilitate the interpretation of these significant interactions. Figure 1 depicts the adventurism times self-efficacy interaction. Overall, peacekeepers scoring high on self-efficacy score more positive on seeking future international assignments than peacekeepers scoring low on self-efficacy. As expected, the relationship between adventurism and seeking future international assignments is stronger for peacekeepers scoring high on self-efficacy than for peacekeepers scoring low on self-efficacy. With these results, Hypothesis 5 is supported for adventurism. Figure 2 shows the results for the cultural empathy times self-efficacy interaction. Again, peacekeepers scoring high on self-efficacy score more positively on seeking future international assignments than peacekeepers scoring low on self-efficacy. However, the relationship between cultural empathy and seeking future international assignments is not stronger for peacekeepers scoring high on self-efficacy than for peacekeepers scoring low on self-efficacy. With this result, Hypothesis 5 is not supported for cultural empathy. Discussion The central aim of this study was to examine factors that predict seeking future international assignments and that are more or less under control of the HR department through training (i.e., better preparation before expatriation, extending intercultural competencies, and improving self-efficacy). It appears that preparation, adventurism, and cultural empathy are important in explaining seeking future expatriation. Peacekeepers scoring high on
11 The International Assignments of Peacekeepers: What Drives Them to Seek Future Expatriation? 145 TABLE II Results of Logistic Regression Analyses for Seeking Future International Assignments (Unstandardized Regression Coefficients) (N=745) Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 b SE b SE b SE b SE Rank.08**.03.10** *.03 Age Length of expatriation.08** Preparation.40**.12.38**.12.35*.13 Sensitivity for other people Adventurism.83**.20.70**.21.63**.22 Empathy for other.65**.19.58**.19.72**.21 cultures Self-efficacy (S-E).52 *.22.53*.23 S-E x preparation S-E x sensitivity for other people S-E x adventurism.66*.30 S-E x empathy for.83*.37 other cultures Nagelkerke R 2.04**.17**.18**.19** *p <.05 **p <.01 self-efficacy are more frequently seeking future international assignments than peacekeepers scoring low on self-efficacy. Also, and in line with previous research among peacekeepers (Solberg, Laberg, Johnsen, & Eid, 2005 ), self-efficacy as a peacekeeper is related to preparation and previous experience. Further, the relationship between adventurism and seeking future international assignments is stronger for peacekeepers scoring high on self-efficacy than for peacekeepers scoring low on self-efficacy. We did not find the expected moderating role of self-efficacy on the relationship of cultural empathy and seeking future international assignments. We do find a moderating effect, as peacekeepers are particularly reluctant to seek assignments when they have low self-efficacy combined with low cultural empathy. This result can be understood: the peacekeeper with a low self-efficacy and a low cultural empathy will not be inclined to seek future deployment again. This study shows the importance of peacekeepers self-efficacy in seeking reassignments for peacekeeping. This fits in with a large body of literature that emphasizes this role of self-efficacy in positive organizational behaviors in general (Luthans & Youssef, 2007 ) and inter-cultural effectiveness in particular (Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al., 2005 ; Harrison et al., 1996; Mignonac, 2008 ). An intriguing outcome of this study is the interplay between training, intercultural competencies, and self-efficacy. Evidently, low levels of cross-cultural self-efficacy limit other possible motivators for seeking deployment, such as adventurism and cultural empathy. Also, the study by Colquitt et al. ( 2000 ) demonstrates that low self-efficacy inhibits the effectiveness of vocational training. This implies that HR policies should be aimed primarily at development or reestablishment of self- efficacy with expatriates (i.e., peacekeepers). As Littrel et al. ( 2006 ) emphasize, cross- cultural training should be an ongoing process. Our results suggest that this
12 146 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, JANUARY FEBRUARY 2009 FIGURE 1. Graphical Presentation of the Moderating Role of Self-Efficacy on the Relationship Between Adventurism and Seeking Future International Assignments FIGURE 2. Graphical Presentation of the Moderating Role of Self-Efficacy on the Relationship Between Cultural Empathy and Seeking Future International Assignments process should primarily be aimed at selfefficacy in cross-cultural work (i.e., peacekeeping). Surprisingly, no studies have been conducted in assessing cross-cultural self-efficacy after deployment. The well-known U-curve model of adjustment during assignments (Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al., 2005 ) also is relevant for periods after deployment. When expatriates come back after an intense experience abroad, HR can offer training and support programs to frame the experiences positively and strengthen expatriates selfefficacy. More empirical work is needed to investigate the possible positive effects of such interventions, both on the motivation for reassignment as well as other positive organizational behaviors. Limitations It is obvious that this study has limitations in terms of the use of self-reported mea-
13 The International Assignments of Peacekeepers: What Drives Them to Seek Future Expatriation? 147 sures and the specific sample. Also, we did not focus on detailed characteristics of the decision-making process for seeking future international assignments. It is regrettable that we couldn t use longitudinal data. Worchel ( 2005 ) argued quite convincingly that because culture is constantly changing, the relationship between culture and conflict is best understood by a paradigm that includes both individual data and time (past, present, and expectations of the future). Hence, we certainly encourage future studies to use longitudinal designs to examine how preferences and peacekeepers needs may change under the condition of changing times. Further, preparation for international assignments, which is one of the predictors, encompasses many aspects that vary from purely technical training (e.g., learning the use of equipment, physical survival methods) to purely intercultural training. However, we did not make such a distinction in the survey. We recommended that more detailed measures of preparation should be used in future research in order to provide more information about which parts of preparation are most crucial for successful deployment. We measured seeking future international assignments with a single binary item. For future studies, we recommend using a more fine-grained measurement (for example, a scale with three, four, or more items) since that would enhance the likelihood that a greater part of the true score is captured. Also, it is important to note that no measures were available about the peacekeepers family situations. It is well documented that family situation and well-being of relatives are important predictors of success of expatriation and also likely predictors of seeking reassignment (Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al., 2005 ). Finally, comparisons with expatriation in the business context need to be interpreted with caution since we used a specific sample namely, peacekeepers. Due to their circumstances and sometimes really hostile environments, peacekeepers are under great pressure and may be inclined to react differently than they would in less stressful circumstances. Implications for Practice To date, this is, to our knowledge, the first study concerning peacekeepers involved in seeking new international assignments. Existing research indicates that international assignments are very challenging experiences; it is important to examine antecedents of the motivation to seek and accept new international assignments. Given the importance of feeling adequately prepared for a mission for seeking future international assignments, we recommended paying the utmost attention on peacekeeper training. The more training An important goal peacekeepers receive, the easier it becomes to acquire the desired here in addition UN peacekeeper profile (Socin & to debriefing on Dugone, 2001 ). For instance, giving them the opportunity to possible traumatic drill in virtual, true-to-life situations that peacekeepers go experiences is through allows them to put into establishing positive practice what they have learned in view of the complexity they feelings concerning will have to cope with during their mission (Socin & Dugone, the deployment 2001 ). experience and HR policies for deployment should not be limited to training improvement of as preparation for a new assignment but also training when expatriates return. In this respect, intercultural selfefficacy. many internationally operating organizations might learn from military peacekeeping practices. For example, the Dutch army not only invests in predeparture training, but also focuses on evaluation and appraisal after deployment. An important goal here in addition to debriefing on possible traumatic experiences is establishing positive feelings concerning the deployment experience and improvement of intercultural self-efficacy. Developing this self-efficacy should be continued, particularly in organizations where international assignments are a key component of HR policies. Assessment of cross-cultural self- efficacy is another important component of HR
14 148 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, JANUARY FEBRUARY 2009 policies. We recommend customized training efforts based on assessment of each individual. Such custom training, based on motivation and interpersonal competencies, should result in better learning results and higher motivation, and therefore offer higher value for the money. The present study shows that 20% of the peacekeepers said they were actively seeking future international assignments. The percentage of peacekeepers that are willing to be deployed again probably will be greater. However, with the increasing demand for peacekeeping operations, it seems to be highly important to pay attention to the evaluation of peacekeepers experiences and to use selection and/or training instruments (i.e., better preparation before expatriation, extending intercultural competencies, improving self-efficacy) to get well-prepared and motivated peacekeepers. Furthermore, the conditions military peacekeepers can apply for specific peacekeeping tasks and missions should be considered. This might result in difficulties in logistics, but this may be traded off with the benefits of more motivated peacekeepers who feel competent to do their challenging but extremely important jobs. We also recommend considering how international assignments can be fitted in peacekeepers career planning for instance, by considering expatriation as an inherent part of the peacekeeper s career progression and by associating appropriate (career) benefits with consecutive deployment (see, e.g., Baruch & Altman, 2002 ). Since a considerable number of peacekeepers will not seek future deployment by themselves, we also recommend that these people s knowledge and skills be used in new assignments or in seeking other jobs for them to come home to. It will be a significant challenge to deal with effective and productive peacekeepers who do not wish to be deployed (see Baruch & Altman, 2002 ). If countries do not deal with this challenge, they may lose the benefit of a very expensive human resource investment and these expatriates valuable contributions (see Bolino & Feldman, 2000 ). Finally, as already noted by Marsella ( 2005 ), violence and war have been present throughout human history, and there is no reason to think they will cease in the future. However, training our soldiers as peacekeepers may be a first step to a more ideal world. Since peacekeeping is such a critical instrument in contemporary international relations, every consideration should be given to prepare, develop, and maintain them for their difficult assignments. Acknowledgments We would like to thank the Dutch Ministry of Defense and the Clingendael Institute for their cooperation in this project. We thank Nicolien Kop, Richard de Ridder, Jaap Dijkstra, Richard van Eijsden, Kees Homan, Jan Rood, and Wendy Broesder for their important contributions to this project. IJ. HETTY VAN EMMERIK is an associate professor in the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. She received her PhD in business administration from the Free University in Amsterdam. Her research interests broadly include social relationships in the working context (e.g., mentoring, networking, social support issues) and associations with various career outcomes (e.g., satisfaction, commitment, burnout, and work engagement). Complementary interests include leadership, gender differences, diversity within the working context, and differential preferences of employees. Her work has been published in various journals such as Career Development International, Work and Stress, Work and Occupations, Group and Organization Management, and the Journal of Managerial Psychology.
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