Emotional Intelligence and British expatriates' cross-cultural adjustment in international construction projects

Ashwini Konanahalli, Lukumon Oyedele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
310 Downloads (Pure)


Today’s internationalized business demands global mindset, intercultural sensitivity and the ability to skilfully negotiate through cross-cultural interactions. Therefore, the overall aim was to investigate the influence of emotional intelligence (EI) on cross-cultural adjustment (CCA) of British expatriates working on International Architectural, Engineering and Construction assignments in Sub-Saharan Africa, China, Middle East and Indian Sub-Continent. Specifically, the causal relationship between EI and three facets of CCA i.e. work, general and interaction adjustment was explored. A sequential exploratory mixed methods design was adopted. These include extensive review of existing literature, eighteen unstructured interviews, and questionnaire survey of 191 British expatriates operating in 29 different countries from the four regions under investigation. Structural equation modelling was used to assess the causal relationship between EI and CCA. Results show that EI accounted for 91, 64 and 24% of the variance in work, interaction and general adjustment respectively. Overall, the model was able to explain 60% variance in CCA, suggesting that EI competencies play a huge role in facilitating an expatriate understand and adapt to host country culture. The findings would help decision-makers (HR managers) during expatriate selection process, in understanding that along with technical skills, it is the emotional competencies that are crucial in assisting expatriates adjust to foreign way of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-768
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number11
Early online date19 Aug 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Aug 2016


  • British Expatriates, Cross-cultural Adjustment, Emotional Intelligence, International Assignments


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