China could be a challenging destination for Western business expatriates. However, their extent of adjustment to life and work could be contingent on the size of the location of their assignment. Maybe Westerners more easily adjust to large cities with their more Western-style way of life and consumption patterns than in less Westernized small towns and villages. To examine this proposition, a mail survey was directed at Western business expatriates assigned to locations of varying size in China. As expected, results showed that the size of the location was positively associated with adjustment to the general non-work environment as well as with work adjustment. Surprisingly, there was no relationship between the size of the location and adjustment to interacting with host nationals, presumably due to language problems. The distinct implications of these findings are discussed in detail.
International Journal of Human Resource Management, 2005, Vol 16, Issue 7, p. 1228-1242