In a cultural No Man’s Land – or, how long does culture shock last?

Hanne Tange (1)
(1) Department of Language and Business Communication, Aarhus School of Business, Fuglesangs , Denmark


This essay is an attempt to combine theories of sojourner adaptation with the qualitative results of my field work among Scottish immigrants in Copenhagen. I argue that theories of acculturation often presuppose a limited time-frame; that the usefulness of Lysgaard’s acculturation model may be questioned; and that companies lose valuable intercultural competence by recalling sojourners before they have completed their process of integration. Learning from practice, I argue that sojourners will change as a result of their stationing overseas; that the intercultural skills obtained by employees during their sojourn represent a valuable resource for international business; and that companies have an obligation to assist sojourners upon their return to their home culture.

Full text article

Generated from XML file


Anderson, Benedict (1991). Imagined Communities. Rev. ed. (1st. ed.; 1983). London and New York: Verso.

Arnstberg, Karl-Olov (ed.) (1996). Boja eller befrielse. Botkyrka: Mångkulturelt Centrum.

Barth, Fredrik (ed.) (1970). Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Blasco, Maribel and Gustaffson, Jan (ed.) (2004). Intercultural Alternatives. Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press.

Gudykunst, William B. and Kim, Young Yun (1997). Communicating with Strangers. 3rd ed. (1st ed.; 1984). Boston, MAS, etc.: McGraw-Hill.

Guirdham, Maureen (1999). Communicating across Cultures. Basingstoke and London: MacMillan Press. DOI:

Gullahorn, John T. and Jeanne E. (1963). "An Extension of the U-Curve Hypothesis" in Journal of Social Issues 19: 33-47. DOI:

Hall, Stuart and du Gay, Paul (eds.) (1996). Questions of Cultural Identity. London, Thousand Oaks and Delhi: Sage.

Hofstede, Geert (2001). Culture’s Consequences. 2nd ed. (1st ed.; 1980). Thousand Oaks, London and Delhi: Sage.

Jensen, Iben (2003). "The Practice of Intercultural Communication". Journal of Intercultural Communication, no. 6 (Feb. 2003-Mar. 2004). Downloaded 3/03/2005 from DOI:

Jensen, Iben (2001). Interkulturel kommunikation i komplekse samfund. 2nd ed. (1st ed.; 1998). Copenhagen: Roskilde Universitetsforlag.

Knudsen, Anne and Wilken, Lizanne (1996). Kulturelle Verdener. 2nd ed. (1st ed.; 1993). Copenhagen: Columbus.

Lysgaard, Sverre (1955). "Adjustment in a foreign society: Norwegian Fulbright Grantees Visiting The United States" in International Social Science Bulletin 7: 45-51.

Nakata, C. and Pokay, Yili Huang (2004). "Culture Studies in the Global Marketing Literature: Current State and Future Directions" in Journal of International Marketing and Marketing Research, vol. 29, no. 3: 111 – 30.

Ronström, Owe (1988). "På jakt efter jugoslaverna". Blandsverige. Edited by Åke Daun and Billy Ehn. Stockholm: Carlssons: 145 - 67.

Røgilds, Flemming (1995). Stemmer i et grænseland. Copenhagen: Politisk Revy.

Samovar, Larry A. and Porter, Richard E. (2004). Communication Between Cultures. 5th ed. (1st. ed.; 1991). Belmont, CA, etc.: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Schierup, Carl-Ulrik (1993). "’Integration’ som pakkeløsning. Velfærdsideologisk assimilationspolitik, etnicisme og diskriminering." Minoriteter og uddannelse. Edited by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, et. al. Copenhagen: Danmarks Lærerhøjskole: 20 – 38.

Sorrells, Kathryn (1998). "Gifts of Wisdom: An Interview with Dr. Edward T. Hall". The Edge: The E-Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol. 1, no. 3. Posted 10/11/1998 on

Ting-Toomey, Stella (1999). Communicating Across Cultures. New York and London: The Guilford Press.

Trompenaars, Fons and Hampden-Turner, Charles (2004). Riding the Waves of Culture. 2nd ed. (1st ed.; 1993). London: Nicholas Brealey.

Varner, Iris and Beamer, Linda (2005). Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace. 3rd ed. (1st ed.; 1995). Boston, etc.: McGraw-Hill.


Hanne Tange (Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Hanne Tange, Department of Language and Business Communication, Aarhus School of Business, Fuglesangs

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Hanne Tange, Ph.D., is assistant professor in the Department of Language and Business communication, Aarhus School of Business.

ADDRESS: Department of Language and Business Communication, Aarhus School of Business, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark. E-mail: hta@asb,dk. Phone: 0045 89 48 65 89.

Tange, H. (2005). In a cultural No Man’s Land – or, how long does culture shock last?. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 5(3), 1–10.

Article Details

Smart Citations via scite_
  • Abstract 141
  • Download PDF 101