Expatriate academics’ cross-cultural adjustment and future intentions in Chinese transnational higher education

Student thesis: PhD Thesis

Abstract

With the end of the COVID-19, Chinese Transnational Higher Education (TNE) has gradually returned to a period of continuous development. The demand for expatriate academics from universities and institutions in Chinese TNE has further increased. Due to the important position of expatriate academics in TNE talent strategies, recruiting, motivating, and retaining expatriate academics is a major challenge for human resource management of Chinese TNE. Surprisingly, although there are many studies on expatriates, there is little research on expatriate academics and their cross-cultural adjustment, especially factors related to their intention to quit their current organisation and intention to stay in a host country.
This research is one of the first studies to combine the fields of expatriate, cross-cultural adjustment and information systems research, giving a comprehensive picture of expatriate academics’ cross-cultural adjustment and future intentions in Chinese TNE. A first qualitative study identifies the factors affecting the cross-cultural adjustment of expatriate academics based on interview data from 31 expatriate academics in Chinese TNE. Through thematic content analysis using NVivo software, a major new finding is that the attitude toward using local mobile Apps is a driving factor of cross-cultural adjustment, with other findings largely confirming the results of previous literature. Then, based on these findings, a second quantitative study was conducted on 297 expatriate academics in Chinese TNE. Applying the Three Dimensions of Cross-cultural Adjustment Theory Black, Mendenhall and Oddou (1991) as the theoretical framework, a new model was developed and empirically tested by linking the attitude toward using local mobile Apps, cross-cultural adjustment, intention to quit their current organisation, and intention to stay in China. The quantitative data were analysed using cross tabulation, t-tests, and ANOVA. Hypotheses were tested using hierarchical regression and SEM through SPSS and AMOS software. The results of regression analysis indicate that motivations of expatriates are not associated with their cross-cultural adjustment. However, the results of SEM indicate that, as hypothesized, there is 1) a negative correlation between attitude toward using local mobile Apps and intention to quit current organisation, and 2) a positive correlation between attitude toward using local mobile Apps and intention to stay in China, both mediated by cross-cultural adjustment. This study also identifies the negative interactive effect of expatriate academics’ attitude toward using local mobile Apps and Chinese proficiency as well as the negative interactive effect of attitude toward using local mobile Apps and time in China on cross cultural adjustment. Chinese proficiency and time in China weaken the positive relationship between attitude toward using local mobile Apps and cross-cultural adjustment.
This research gives novel and important insights and raises awareness of the crucial roles of expatriate academics’ attitude toward using local mobile Apps, host country language proficiency, and time in host country on cross-cultural adjustment and future intentions. It not only clarifies the necessity for human resource management of universities and institutions in Chinese TNE to ensure smoother cross-cultural adjustment for expatriate academics, but also helps them provide better support for expatriate academics. Meanwhile, it enables Chinese governmental policy-makers to better understand and meet the needs of expatriate academics in China. In addition, this research provides valuable suggestions for expatriates themselves. Finally, this research encourages researchers to conduct interdisciplinary research with wider geographical generalizability and types of expatriates, better samples, research methodology and content to further explore new solutions to cross-cultural issues.
Date of AwardJul 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Nottingham
SupervisorJingzi Zhou (Supervisor) & Martin Lockett (Supervisor)

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