Purpose - As opposed to the predominant belief in the West, in Chinese dominated societies theremay be a positive relationship between age and perceived possession of high quality personalresources. That attitude towards old age may carry over to expatriates in Chinese societies. This mayhave a positive impact on expatriates' job performance. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is toexamine the association between the age of business expatriates and their work performance in a Chinese cultural setting. Design/methodology/approach - Controlling for the potential bias of a number of background variables, data collected from business expatriates in Greater China were analyzed by means ofhierarchical regression. Findings - Results indicate that contextual/managerial performance, including general managerial functions applied to the subsidiary in Greater China, had a positive association with the age of the expatriates. This finding provides partial affirmative support to the presumption that the age of business expatriates matters in a Chinese cultural context. Practical implications - Companies sending expatriates to Greater China could introduce age among other selection criteria. At least, companies should not discriminate against older candidatesin expatriate selection for Greater China. Furthermore, older expatriates destined for a Chinesecultural context could be trained how to exploit their age advantage. Originality/value - In contrast to previous studies, this investigation attempts to match a certain personal characteristic of expatriates with a specific host culture. The results have implications for and contribute to the literature on expatriate selection as well as to the body of research on crosscultural training.
Cross Cultural Management, 2009, Vol 16, Issue 2, p. 131-148