In certain countries, closed expatriate compounds have developed. They serve to provide resident expatriates and accompanying family members with a comfortable and safe environment. Unfortunately, not much is known about compound life since associated empirical research is scarce. Through ethnographic field-work methodology, including interviews and participant observation during a period of three months, this exploratory study investigated 16 Danish business expatriates of a large Danish corporation and their families living in the same compound in Saudi Arabia. They shared their spare time and the expatriates had the same working hours in the same subsidiary. Results show that a Danish national group was established and maintained. This in-group dominated life in the compound and at work it may have contributed to the perceptual bias and discriminatory behaviour demonstrated by the Danish expatriates in their management of the foreign national employees. Implications of these findings are discussed in detail.
International Journal of Human Resource Management, 2009, Vol 20, Issue 7, p. 1451-1467
Expatriate compounds; ethnographic field study; Saudi Arabia.