Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to develop and present a conceptual model of expatriate–host country national (HCN) interaction that explains how organizations can help increase cooperation between expatriates and HCNs by facilitating interaction between expatriates and HCNs. Design/methodology/approach: The authors draw upon intergroup contact theory to develop a process model which describes the processes critical to “the effectiveness of the expatriate–HCN relationship,” from both the expatriate and HCN perspectives. Findings: HCN–expatriate interactions are critical to the success of both expatriates and HCNs, but such interactions should not be left to chance – instead, organizations should intervene and facilitate conditions that foster such interactions, which can lead to better understanding and appreciation of each other. This would ensure that both expatriates and HCNs have a better understanding of the critical role played by the other party, and thus be willing to offer relevant and necessary support at the right time. Practical implications: Prior research reveals that most expatriate–HCN interactions are left to the individuals themselves and are thus subject to stereotypes, misperceptions and even unfulfilled expectations. By intervening in this process, and providing relevant information about each other to both parties, organizations can facilitate higher quality interactions, help reduce or remove stereotypes and increase the chances that both parties receive required and relevant information on a timely basis from each other. Originality/value: The authors specifically discuss how interpersonal expatriate–HCN interactions allow the two parties to become acquainted with each other, when the effects of such interactions can be strengthened, and what the resultant effects are in terms of expatriate–HCN relationships.