Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communications Media

First Advisor

B. Gail Wilson, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Mark J. Piwinsky, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

James S. Lenze, Ph.D.


The number of American educators employed at international schools has grown significantly, however little research has examined their usage of various media such as the smartphone to maintain native culture communal ties and assimilate to their host culture. This study examines the perceived effectiveness of smartphones in relation to both functions. A Qualtrics survey was distributed to American expatriate educators currently employed at International School Services (ISS) affiliated international schools. The study showed that expatriate educators perceive their smartphone to be effective in the maintenance of native culture communal ties while living and working in a foreign country. This was especially true of females, who indicated a higher sense of agreement than males. A negative correlation was found between age and frequency of smartphone usage to stay in contact with friends and family back home. Respondents indicated their smartphone is slightly helpful to assimilate within a host culture. This study showed a relationship between an educator’s sense of host culture assimilation and frequency of usage as an integration tool. The results indicate that expatriate educators, regardless of age or gender, believe their smartphone is more effective to maintain native culture communal ties than as a host cultural assimilation tool. Future research is necessary to investigate the impact of smartphone usage and how it may help to better understand expatriate assimilation, promote retention rates, and lower recruitment costs.