SUNY Canton Assistant Prof’s Findings to be Presented at International Symposium

Charles FennerA SUNY Canton assistant professor’s new findings about U.S. employees working in foreign embassies will be presented this May at the International Workshop on Human Resource Management in Jerez De La Frontera, Spain.

Assistant Professor of Technology Management Charles R. Fenner, Ph.D., and co-author Jan Selmer, Ph.D., of the Aarhus School of Business, created The Work Situation of Public Sector Expatriates. Fenner served as an expatriate, or somebody who works outside their own country, during his 20-year career as a military officer.

“Most cross-cultural adjustment studies are based on many different types of jobs in one location,” Fenner said. “Our research turns previous studies on their head. We studied the cross-cultural adjustment of U.S. employees in the same position from across the world.”

He said their findings, based on his doctorate dissertation, demonstrate the importance of role clarity in the adjustment of the expatriate to their position. More specifically, when the expatriate clearly understands his or her role and function in the foreign environment, the expatriate’s adjustment to their work is greatly enhanced. “It’s important for the local leadership to enforce and enhance the vision of the multinational corporation overseas,” he said.

Fenner collected the information online for his dissertation while he was stationed in Moscow, Russia. He based his research on U.S. Department of Defense administrators stationed in embassies worldwide. “I saw responses everywhere as far as Ulan-Bator, Mongolia, to Santiago, Chile,” he said.

While living in Moscow, Fenner was in a comparable role to his studies. He said his personal adaptation appeared to be remarkable, but he was only interacting with counterparts who spoke English in the embassy. “My family had a harder time adjusting to their surroundings, because they were immersed in a foreign language,” Fenner noted. “Language can cause barriers to adjustment.”

Fenner is the lead faculty member for the Technology Management four-year program. He has run the office operations at embassies in Hanoi, Vietnam; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Moscow, Russia and Bucharest, Romania. Technology Management is offered as an online program through SUNY Canton OnLine, allowing students from around the world to earn their SUNY Canton Bachelor of Business Administration degree.


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