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Kelly Fisher


Insights and Challenges of Public-Sector Female Expatriates Deployed to a Warzone

Kelly Fisher

Description: Public-sector organizations-such as the military, along with those involved in humanitarian efforts, peacekeeping missions, and civil political conflicts--have a long history of working overseas in extreme contexts that are dangerous and dynamic and that present additional physical, mental and psychological stressors. Nonetheless, much expatriate research has focused on male executives in multinational corporations. Using a Ted talk format, this presentation focuses on the lived acculturation experiences of United States female career military expatriates who worked and lived in combat settings across five war zones. Particular attention is given to the multiple physical and psychological stressors of living and working as a female in a war zone and the variety of coping strategies employed. Interactive discussions will be used to engage session attendees to identify best practices for organizations to train and support expatriates based on insights drawn from this case study.

Level: Intermediate

Delivery: Case Study

Track: Cross-Cutting Topics in Intercultural Relations


Assistant Professor (Management), West Chester University Pennsylvania

Kelly L. Fisher is currently an assistant professor in the School of Business and Public Policy at West Chester University Pennsylvania. She completed her Ph.D. in management at Monash University in 2010 where she conducted a case study on combat leadership in a cross-cultural context. Her first teaching position was delivering a "3C" cultural competency course online to deployed Airmen for the Air Force Cultural and Language Center. She has published in leading journals, such as Military Psychology and Journal of Organizational Behavior, and presented at conferences sponsored by the Academy of Management (national and affiliates), International Leadership Association, Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management, and Inter-University on Armed Forces and Society, among others. Her research interests are in leadership, culture, and contextual studies. Two current studies are exploring the role of gender in a cross-cultural and/or dangerous context. One study is on the lived acculturation experiences of female military expatriates in five different war zones and the second study is investigating preferred leadership behaviors for women in dangerous jobs. Both studies also explore the motivation and coping strategies as influenced by gender. Her prior career to academe was in the United States Navy.