Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)

Research Article: 2021 Vol: 20 Issue: 5

Cultural Intelligence-A Model of Socialization of Self-Initiated Expatriate (SIE) Employees

Beena Salim Saji, Zayed University

Anupama Nair, Higher Colleges of Technology

Abstract

Objective of the study: This research examines the role of cultural intelligence and its components as a determinant of effective socialization of Self-Initiated Expatriate employees (SIE) in United Arab Emirates.

Methodology: Cultural intelligence questionnaire is used to collect data from 221 participants who are Self initiated expatraites who are employed in United Arab emirates. A purposive sampling method is used for the study. ANOVA and Structural equation modelling (SEM) is used analyse data.

Findings: The study proved that components of cultural intelligence- Meta cognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioral cultural quotients among self initiated expatriates determines the cultural adjustment of the SEIs. Cultural adjustment mediates the relationship between cultural motiavtion quotient and behavioral quotient as evidenced in the model proposed.

Significance of the study: This study is one of the few done on SIEs cultural quotient which highlighted importance of cultural cognitive quotient of cultural intelligence and could propose a new SEI cultural intelligence path model.

Implications: UAE human resource managers should try to change cognitions realted to the host country culture by providing insights and knowledge while recruiting SIE and identify methods to interview and understand the level of cultural intelligence.

Originality: The paper adds to existing knowledge about cultural intelligence and offers an understanding about the same in United Arab emirates where there is very little research done on this important aspect.

Keywords

Cultural Intelligence, Self-Initiated Expatriate, Socialization, Cognitive, Behavioral, Motives, Cultural Adjustment.

Introduction

Cross cultural researchers have highlighted the significance of training and attaining an awareness, understanding, adjustment into the national and work culture of the host countries for managerial success in foreign country business operations (Koo Moon et al., 2012; Caligiuri et al., 2001; Lievens et al., 2003; Waxin & Panaccio, 2005; Rehg et al., 2012;). These proliferance of research in cross cultural training and its impact on expatriate adjustment to work and the new host country is abundant. Expat’s adjustment into a new environment and role has significant impact on consequent outcomes such as employee performance (Malik et al., 2014), job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and employee turnover. Sociocultural adjustment consists of the three factors of being able to function well on the job (work adjustment), to adapt to everyday living conditions (general living condition adjustment), and to interact well with people in the country where assigned (Black, 1988) which is referred to here as host-country national interactional adjustment. Kaleramna et al. (2019) clearly indicated a positive relationship of motivational CQ and meta-cognitive CQ with professional adjustment of Indian expatriates who were sent to USA and canada for assignments. Self-preparation, social interaction, relationships, diversity, personality traits, and the desire to learn enhanced adjustment and goal achievement were found to be important contributing factors for SEIs in Dubai (Andrade & Miller, 2018).

Cross-cultural analysts have featured the significance of accomplishing a mindfulness, understanding, modification into the national and work culture of the host nations for administrative achievement in remote nation business tasks. Expat's modification into another condition and job has huge effect on ensuing results, for example, employee performance, work fulfillment, hierarchical responsibility, and employee turnover. Cost of expatriate disappointment has multi-dimensional effect that could be estimated and communicated in terms of direct financial cost and circuitous costs, for example, loss of self-regard, self-certainty, diminished inspiration, and loss of distinction among one's friends. So it is basic to cognize the bases or factors that lead to a successful expatriate change, which could be used by the organizations to support their employees.

The need of the present research is to examine determinants of effective socialization of Self-Initiated Expatriate employees (SIE) in the United Arab Emirates. A SIE denotes to any person who is employed on a contractual base, who come to another country to work on their own initiative and not relocated overseas by the parent organization. According to the UAE Year Book 2013, expatriates dominate the work force both in public and private sector, comprising 40 per cent of the UAE’s public sector’s labor force, and 99.5 per cent of private sector employees in 2010.

This paper conveys an exploratory investigation of cultural intelligence as a determinant of expat socialization in UAE and conveys significant understandings and knowledge on the topic. The sample for the exploration contains 221 Self-Initiated Expatriate employees employed in different enterprises in United Arab Emirates. This research paper delivers an exploratory analysis with valuable insights on the same.

Literature Review

Cultural Intelligence or Cultural Quotient (CQ) is a term utilized in business, academia, government and scholastic research to enable a clearer understanding about culture and its adaptation by individuals. The Cultural Quotient (CQ) framework was developed by Earley & Ang (2003) and according to them, it was composed of four sub?dimensions (i.e. metacognitive CQ, cognitive CQ, motivational CQ, and behavioral CQ) (Ang & Van Dyne, 2008; Earley & Ang, 2003). This scale is used for the present study.

Cultural intelligence can be comprehended as the capacity to relate and work successfully across societies. Cultural intelligence is flexible, and everybody can improve their CQ- Cultural Quotient through an assortment of demonstrated methodologies. These systems work best when an individual starts by finishing an evaluation of his or her current intercultural abilities. It might be useful to retake the evaluation on various occasions all through the formative procedure to screen in advance. In this segment of the report, in we portray three factors affecting cultural intelligence is considered: 1) Experience and Reflection, 2) Preparing and Instructing, and 3) Individual CQ advancement plans. Self-determination theory posits that different types of motivation affect an end result rather than the quantity of motivation (Deci & Ryan, 2008). Autonomous motivation, reflecting personal choice, is associated with greater persistence, more positive effort, and enhanced performance. When individuals identify with more than oneculture they also internalize more than one culturalschema. Cultural schemas are organized knowledgestructures, including cultural norms, values andbeliefs, that help people interpret and select infor-mation associated with a culture (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). Cultural identities are mentallyorganized along the dimensions of identity plural-ity and identity integration in order to facilitatesense-making (Ashforth et al., 2008).

Measurement of Cultural Intelligence is one of the most significant improvements in the field of intercultural skill has been enabled the rise of inventories that evaluate intercultural capability. Numerous associations utilize these evaluations to build up individuals' intercultural mindfulness and aptitudes. Intercultural evaluations can furnish people and associations with an instrument for understanding what territories need the most consideration. Also, appraisal information can lessen the feeling that intercultural aptitudes are unclear and subtle, and give an approach to HR experts to benchmark execution against overall standards and principles. Intercultural appraisals can be utilized as a feature of the on boarding process—not as a possibility for work, however to help another colleague prevail in culturally different situations. Constructive criticism dependent on an appraisal can enable new contracts to concentrate on the regions that need the most consideration for self-improvement.

There are subjective contrasts between Self-Initiated Expatriates and the individuals who have been sent by parent organizations from their nation of origin. From a lifelong point of view, Self-Initiated Expatriates (SEIs) are progressively illustrative of a limit less vocation and one who seeks and explores career growth and opportunities and at times protean careers. From an inspirational angle, the choice to expatriate has been a decision made exclusively by the individual not an association. Accordingly, literature focusing on the self-initiated expatriate is the most proper for this study. Given the exploration questions, an examination into the thought processes (cognitive component of cultural intelligence) of expatriates particularly as they relate to monetary rewards and profession is urgent as it adds a focal point through which to see the choices that are made. Self-initiated expatriates speak to the more liquid and dynamic point of view of professions in that they have the opportunity and autonomy to cross worldwide limits in quest for vocation openings and look for protean careers. They may work outside the more customary idea of the boundaries vocation and, in the event that they are profoundly talented experts, embody the worldwide information specialist and the limit less profession. It is a direct result of this opportunity that their inspirations are frequently investigated. Discourses of self-initiated expatriate inspirations regularly incorporate a part of monetary rewards and vocation opportunity. In spite of the fact that the budgetary perspective is a key rationale, it is just piece of an intricate push/maneuver investigation into which expatriates engage. Arora & Rohmetra (2010) stated that Cultural intelligence furnishes a chance to interface viably with assorted societies through affectability, flexibility and figuring out how to grasp a differing cultural legacy that is fulfilling, invigorating and engaging. Utilizing contrasts in the working environment through cultural intelligence is a component for possibility. Kim & Van Dyne (2011) associated with cultural adjustment, factors like execution, basic leadership, trust, collaboration, leadership adequacy in an intercultural situation. Various analysts in the field have guaranteed that CQ (cultural quotient) can help leaders effectively manage diverse national, authoritative and proficient societies. Schoepp & Forstenlechner (2012) revealed that expatriation has been included in the writing for about three decades. Expatriates are frequently a group that appreciate high status, have huge profession openings, and appreciate fine monetary prizes. However, we don't have a clue how such an attention on remunerations among expatriates impacts proficient job practices or frames of mind towards the profession. Jianguanglung Dangmei (2016) explained that cross fringe the board has turned into a major test among the associations. Analysts have recommended that a high IQ and passion for growth may not be adequate to effectively deal with the worldwide circumstances, association and multifaceted nature of cultural muses of societies. As associations depend on the developing markets for income development and extension, they have to acclimate with various societies and need to discuss well with different societies. In the event that these cultural contrasts are not very much overseen, misjudging and struggle may ascend in the business across the world and associations could be in danger if they neglect to manage the cultural distinction. It is assumed that cultural intelligence is a basic factor to conquer the difficulties of cultural contrasts. The substances of contemporary associations showed that cultural intelligence has imperative ramifications for people and associations in the globalization as cultural assorted varieties expect associations to connect with individuals from an assortment of foundations. At the point when the cultural assorted variety is taken care of legitimately along with cultural intelligence in the associations, will lead to the advantages of the associations. Associations working in the cross fringe business currently need to consolidate cultural intelligence to beat the difficulties of cultural contrasts in the developing markets. Ersoy (2014) examined the role of cultural intelligence in cross-cultural leadership adequacy derived from data and experiences assembled through a progression of inside and out meetings with six Western expatriate directors and thirteen local Turkish supervisors who speak to top and center level officials working in a five star inn in Istanbul district, so as to decide the effect of cultural intelligence, ethnographic examination was utilized in this exploration. This investigation affirms that expatriate's Cultural Quotient affects their cross-cultural socialization adequacy.

Though there are many researches done on self-initiated expatriates most of the studies are focusing on motives of expatriates, much is not done on Cultural Intelligence as a determinant of socialization of Self Initiated Expatriates. Some of the studies done in UAE were on academics and their motivations and adjustment to the culture of UAE and work place (Isakovic & Whitman, 2013) which used Black (1988) framework of expatraite sociocultural and work place adjustment. Furthermore this research is focussing on SEI cultural intelligence as a determinant of socialisation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The present study identified this as the research gap and attempted to probe the different dimensions of Cultural Intelligence determining socialization of self initiated expatriates in UAE. United Arab Emirates have a large number of Malik et al. (2014) self-initiated expatriates from many different countries and the country does not give citizenship to these expatriates. Hence it will be interesting to study how the cultural and cognitive adaptability factors of these SEI employees and provide insights into their cultural intelligence in adapting to the work place and country culture and what is the motivation behind the same.

Methodology

Research Objective

The aims of the present research were:

• To study the significance of cultural intelligence associated with Self-Initiated Expatriate employees of UAE

• To evaluate the various elements involved in understanding cultural intelligence as part of Self-Initiated Expatriate employees

• To identify the impact of cultural intelligence on behavioral and motivational socialization factors of Self-Initiated Expatriate employees

• To analyze the causal relationship between study variables of the research

The research study was conducted to determine the Cultural Intelligence -A Model of Socialization of Self-Initiated Expatriate Employees in UAE.

Data Collection Instruments and Sampling Techniques

The Cultural Intelligence Scale (CIS) used by the researcher is adapted from the scale developed by Earley & Ang (2003). CQ has been measured using 20 items (Cronbach's α=0.70), developed and validated by Ang et al. (2007). It is a multi-dimensional constructs comprising: Meta-cognitive CQ (Cronbach's α=0.72), that refers to mental processes that individuals use to acquire and understand cultural knowledge, including knowledge of and control over individual thought processes relating to culture; cognitive CQ (α=0.71) relates to how an individual makes sense of the similarities and differences between different cultures; motivational CQ (α=0.72) reflects one's propensity to commit to adaptive behaviors when thrust into a culturally unfamiliar setting; and behavioral CQ (α=0.74) refers to the capability to exhibit appropriate verbal and non-verbal actions when interacting with individuals from different cultures. The scale included four items of meta-cognitive CQ, six items of cognitive CQ, five items of motivational CQ and five items of behavioral CQ. Cross-cultural adjustment scale (Black, 1988) was used for the study had fourteen items (general- 7 items; Cronbach α=0.83; interaction- 4 items, α =0.86 and work -3 items, α =0.80) and Cultural Intelligence Scale had twenty items. But for this study metacognitive and cognitive elements were together taken as cognitive. The design of Questionnaire is on a 5-point Likert scales extend from strongly disagree to strongly agree, was utilized to gather information from the Self-Initiated Expatriate Employees working in UAE. For this examination, purposive sampling procedure was used for the accumulation of information. Survey was given to 221 respondents. 62 % of the respondents were male and rest was female SIEs. They were given questionnaires to collect information related to cultural intelligence and cross- cultural adjustments required for conducting the study.

One-way ANOVA, was done identify differences between age groups and professional levels of participants on the variables total score on cultural intelligence, total score on cultural adjustment and its components cognitive , motivational and behavioral separately; and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was conducted to determine the Cultural Intelligence Model of Socialization of Self-Initiated Expatriate Employees in UAE.

Results

H01: 1 There is no significant difference between age groups with regards to Cultural intelligence total ; cognitive, motivational, and behavioral components of cultural intelligence scale; and cultural adjustment scale total score among SEI employees.

Table 1 shows the output of the ANOVA analysis and whether there is a statistically significant difference between age groups with regards to Cultural Adjustment Scale, Cultural Intelligence Scale, Cognitive, Motivational and Behavioral.

Table 1ANOVA Results
Dimensions Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig
Cultural Adjustment Scale Between Groups 22.9 3 7.633 0.38 0.768
Within Groups 4360.449 217 20.094    
Total 4383.348 220      
Cultural Intelligence Scale Between Groups 81.313 3 27.104 2.598 0.043
Within Groups 2264.053 217 10.433    
Total 2345.367 220      
Cognitive Between Groups 37.529 3 12.51 1.296 0.277
Within Groups 2095.159 217 9.655    
Total 2132.688 220      
Motivational Between Groups 49.151 3 16.384 1.731 0.161
Within Groups 2053.302 217 9.462    
Total 2102.452 220      
Behavioral Between Groups 56.173 3 18.724 1.045 0.374
Within Groups 3889.664 217 17.925    
Total 3945.837 220      

It can be seen that the significance value is below 0.05 (p<0.05) for Cultural Intelligence Scale and null hypotheses is rejected. All the other dimensions having p value greater than 0.05 (P>0.05) and null hypotheses is accepted.

There is significant difference between Age groups with regards to Cultural Intelligence Scale.

There is no significance difference between Age groups with regards to neither Cultural Adjustment Scale, nor the components of cultural intelligence scale- Cognitive, Motivational and Behavioral.

H01: 2 There is no significant difference between Profession groups with regards to Cultural Adjustment Scale, Cultural Intelligence Scale, Cognitive, Motivational and Behavioral

This Table 2 shows that the output of the ANOVA analysis and whether there is a statistically significant difference between Profession groups with regards to Cultural Adjustment Scale, Cultural Intelligence Scale, Cognitive, Motivational and Behavioral.

Table 2 ANOVA between profession groups
Dimensions Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig
Cultural Adjustment Scale Between Groups 118.782 3 39.594 2.015 0.113
Within Groups 4264.567 217 19.652    
Total 4383.348 220      
Cultural Intelligence Scale Between Groups 43.338 3 14.446 1.362 0.255
Within Groups 2302.029 217 10.608    
Total 2345.367 220      
Cognitive Between Groups 73.561 3 24.52 2.584 0.054
Within Groups 2059.127 217 9.489    
Total 2132.688 220      
Motivational Between Groups 177.868 3 59.289 6.685 0
Within Groups 1924.585 217 8.869    
Total 2102.452 220      
Behavioral Between Groups 238.619 3 79.54 4.656 0.004
Within Groups 3707.218 217 17.084    
  Total 3945.837 220      

It can be seen that the significance value is below 0.05 (p<0.05) for cognitive, Motivational and Behavioral- which are components of cultural intelligence scale, and hence null hypotheses are rejected. Total score on cultural adjustment scale and cultural intelligence scale with profession have p value greater than 0.05 (P>0.05) and hence null hypotheses is accepted.

There is significant difference between Profession groups with regards to cognitive, Motivational and Behavioral aspects of cultural intelligence scale. There is no significance difference between Profession groups with regards to Cultural Adjustment Scale (total score), Cultural Intelligence Scale (total score). Motives for SIE have been part of many studies and have proved it improves cultural intelligence of the SEIs. Here the components of cultural intelligence- (cognitive, motivational and behavioral CQ) have shown statistical significance with profession. This finding is very important for human resource managers, organizational and occupational psychologists and trainers of cultural intelligence to ensure changes in thought processes and create positive cognitive contexts about new country, work place and nationals or locals there to make efforts to show culturally intelligent behaviors. Culturally viable behaviors lead to job success and hence supports in the development of the SEI in the new country.

Results of Structural Equation Modelling

Figure 1 shows results of structural equation modeling.

Figure 1: Results of Structural Equation Modeling

H03.1 Cultural Adjustment Scale has no impact on Motivational.

From the Table 3, it can be concluded that the p value is less than the significance level; hence the null hypothesis is rejected. Therefore Cultural Adjustment Scale has positive impact on Motivational.

Table 3 Results of Structural Equation Modelling
Dimensions Path Dimensions SE P Value Result
Motivational <--- Cultural Adjustment Scale 0.043 0 Significant
Motivational <--- Cognitive 0.064 0 Significant
Motivational <--- Cultural Intelligence Scale 0.055 0.027 Not Significant
Behavioral <--- Motivational 0.06 0 Significant

H03.2 Cognitive has no impact on Motivational.

From the Table 3, it can be concluded that the p value is less than the significance level; hence the null hypothesis is rejected. Therefore Cognitive has positive impact on Motivational.

H03.3 Cultural Intelligence Scale has no impact on Motivational.

From the Table 3, it can be concluded that the p value is greater than the significance level; hence the null hypothesis is accepted. There-fore Cultural Intelligence Scale has no impact on Motivational.

H03.4 Motivational has no impact on Behavioral.

From the Table 3, it can be concluded that the p value is less than the significance level; hence the null hypothesis is rejected. Therefore Motivational has positive impact on Behavioral.

Major Model Fit Indices Summary

It can be seen from Table 4 the Goodness of Fit Index (GFI) value was 0.926, Adjusted Goodness of Fit Index (AGFI) value was 0.913 and Comparative Fit Index (CFI) value was 0.933. All these values are (greater than 0.9) indicating a very good fit. It was found that Root Mean Score Error of Approximation (RMSEA) value was 0.024 (lesser than 0.06) and Root Mean Square Residual (RMR) value was 0.012 (lesser than 0.02). This says that the model has a real fit statistically. This highlights the fact that motives alone do not make a SIE – Self Initiated Expatriate to have cultural intelligence- which includes metacognition CQ, cognition CQ, motivational CQ and behavioral CQ (Earley & Ang, 2003). It requires efforts from the side of the SEI to make proper social adjustment for the same.

The new proposed model highlights the importance of cognition about the culture which is there among self initiated expatriates and then such thoughts about culture of the new country that they are going to work enables and motivates the SEIs to acquire the drive to behave in acceptable ways related to the culture they have to adapt with (Figure 2). The importance of cognition in psychology for enabling individuals to control and acquire thoughts for self regulation and act according to the expectation of the environment can be seen in the model. The motive to act in a certain way always come from the thought process and here it is about the thought processes related to the new culture that creates a motive or drive which culminates in a culturally intelligent behavior. A research done by Jyoti & Kour (2017) on cross cultural management states that Cross Cultural Adjustment mediates the relationship between Cultural Quotient and job performance and perceived social support and experience moderates the relationship between CQ and CCA. This model also suggests that cultural adjustment of SEI mediates the relationship between motivational cultural quotient and behavioral cultural quotient . Motive is also related to the cultural adjust an individual is ready to make . In this case the model highlights that path in SEM results.

Figure 2: Self Initiated Expatraite Cultural Intelligence and Adaptation Model

There is significant difference between Age groups with regards to Cultural Intelligence Scale. There is no significant difference between Age groups with regards to Cultural Adjustment Scale. There is significant difference between profession groups with regards to Cognitive, Motivational and Behavioral aspects of cultural intelligence scale. There is no significance difference between Profession groups with regards to total score on Cultural Adjustment Scale, and total score on Cultural Intelligence Scale It is therefore concluded that there is an association between independent variable Age and cultural intelligence, but no significant relationship between age and cultural adjustment. This suggests that with age individuals or SEIs become more mature with exposure to cultural nuances and hence acquire more cultural intelligence. Cultural Adjustment is not affected by independent variable age, which provide the insight that cognition and motivational internalization about cultural assimilation and accommodation is important for SEIs to make cultural adjustment behaviors. Cognitive quotient variable of cultural intelligence is important for the SEI for the creation of a motive that drives them to behavior related to cultural intelligence as is evident from SEM model.

These analyses were done to find the relationship between different dimensions of cultural intelligence. If the employee has good cultural intelligence then they can succeed as Self-Initiated Expatriate. Sociocultural adjustment consists of the three factors of being able to function well on the job (work adjustment), to adapt to everyday living conditions (general living condition adjustment), and to interact well with people in the country where assigned which is referred to here as host-country national interactional adjustment.

The findings of the present study are interesting as it clearly states age is not connected to cultural intelligence as a total score. It is more about cognition, motivation and behavioral components of cultural intelligence which is significantly connected to professional levels. SEIs cognitive cultural intelligence is very important for developing a motive for cultural adjustment. The study is somewhat relate to the findings of Williams (2008) study of American expatriates in china which found that individuals with higher levels of cognitive cultural intelligence have higher levels of sociocultural adjustment and that individuals with higher levels of motivational cultural intelligence have higher levels of psychological and sociocultural adjustment. The added value of this study is proving that there is a linear path that cognitive cultural intelligence leads to motivational cultural quotient, which leads to behavioral cultural quotient. Career development and growth, better living conditions, new adventures, etc.; may be the main focus of the SIE who come out of their country to explore and develop their professions in a new country and hence their thinking related to cultural intelligence is also more professional. Cultural adjustment thus happens if the SEIs develop a cognitive understanding about the new country that they have chosen for their job and career aspirations, and develop a motive to be successful in the domain chosen by having a motive to understand and survive successfully in the new culture and exhibit behaviors conducive to the cultural norms and situational requirements of the job and country. Once the components of cultural intelligence become strong they make socio cultural adjustment in an effective manner acceptable to their new society, work demands and positive interactions with the host country nationals.

Limitations and Future Research

This study could not highlight the importance of gender in self initated expatraite cultural intelligence. Also more variables related to cultural intelligence and socialisation can be included to identify new paths to acheiving career succes and development of SEIs. As it was a cross-sectional research it has the propensity to suffer from common method variance error. In this study, data collection was only accomplished through respondent self-reporting via a survey instrument. As no data were collected through other perspectives (e.g., spouses, supervisors, employee records) the resultant study became one-dimensional. This narrow focus could possibly miss other relationships or information that cannot be captured from the perspective of the respondent.

Future researchers can focus on additional variables that may affect the SEIs. Emotional aspects of adjustment and cultural intelligence is something that future researchers should include in the model. Cross cultural conmparison of cultural intelligence and its pathways in different countries can be done as an empirical study or a metananlysis of existing studies. It will be interesting to look into cultural intelligence and adaptation and temporal dimensions among different nationalities. Will it be same or different for different nationalities in United Arab Emirates? Will it depend on the kind of acceptance of different nationalities in the work place by the United Arab emirates national acceptance etc is also another question to ponder. Cognition of these differential treatment and acceptance and expectations at work place also is part of cultural intelligence of a new comer SIE in united arab emirates. Grit and self monitoring behavior of SIEs could be two other psychological concepts that can be studied within the perspective of cultural intelligence by future researchers.

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