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A Review of Books, Studies and Journal Articles Published in the U.S.A. from 1955-1995 Relating to the Sociological Impact of Corporate Relocation on the Family System

by Barbara W. Cummings

Paperback e-Book PDF
Institution: Saint Louis University
Advisor(s): Albert Bender
Degree: Ph.D., Education
Year: 1998
Volume: 258 pages
ISBN-10: 1581120532
ISBN-13: 9781581120530


America is a mobile nation and frequent relocation is a way of life for many corporate families. This qualitative review of literature relating to the sociological impact of relocation on the corporate family appears to show that relocation has short-term and long-term implications for the family system.

Relocation is not an isolated event but a process of adjustment over time involving emotional stages similar to the stages of grief and loss. Each family member may experience the relocation differently and progress through the stages at a different rate. This creates a period of disorganization and disorientation for the family similar to a prolonged jet-lag, which I call Relo-Lag™. This period of adjustment for the family system is the most frequently cited short-term effect and can last up to two years.

Frequent relocations may also precipitate a long-term effect by causing the family system to become too tightly closed. The family may not seek outside help when needed or accept it when offered. Individual family members may experience difficulty with long-term close friendships and relationships outside the family. In addition, children appear to be particularly vulnerable when relocating during the individuation stages, years 3-5 and adolescence, years 13-16. Not all families experience relocation negatively and some families cope well with relocation. Relocation can improve career and financial opportunities for some corporate families, but there may be emotional costs that need to be considered before making a decision to relocate.

*Relo-Lag is a Trademark of Barbara W. Cummings, all rights reserved.