Reverse Culture Shock

DEFINITION of 'Reverse Culture Shock'

The shock suffered by some people when they return home after a number of years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.


In the business context, the advent of globalization has resulted in more and more employees being sent on lengthy assignments to other countries. With the number of expatriates who live and work in countries other than their own having increased in recent years, reverse culture shock is a phenomenon that is on the rise.

BREAKING DOWN 'Reverse Culture Shock'

The degree of reverse culture shock may be directly proportional to the length of time spent overseas, i.e. the longer the time spent abroad, the greater the shock factor upon the eventual return home. Another factor that may influence the magnitude of reverse culture shock is the extent of the difference in cultures between the expatriate's home country and the foreign country. The bigger the cultural difference, the greater the reverse culture shock likely upon return.

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