Original Research

Cultural intelligence and interactional adjustment of Chinese expatriates in Ghana

Isaac T. Agyei, Vuyokazi Mtembu
Acta Commercii | Vol 23, No 1 | a1124 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v23i1.1124 | © 2023 Isaac T. Agyei, Vuyokazi Mtembu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 January 2023 | Published: 15 August 2023

About the author(s)

Isaac T. Agyei, Graduate School of Governance and Leadership, Faculty of Law and Management Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Vuyokazi Mtembu, Graduate School of Governance and Leadership, Faculty of Law and Management Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Orientation: Expatriates must adjust to geographical and cultural gap, a change that demands cultural intelligence (CQ). Chinese self-initiated expatriates (SIEs), who have travelled out of their own volition with no institutional support, are in Ghana for investment opportunities due to Ghana’s political stability and the recently discovered oil in commercial quantities.

Research purpose: The study purpose was to examine which construct of CQ (metacognitive CQ, cognitive CQ, behavioural CQ and motivational CQ) best predicts interactional adjustment (IA) of Chinese SIEs in Ghana.

Motivation for the study: These business opportunities in Ghana for the Chinese SIEs come together with a new set of challenges – inability of most Chinese SIEs to interactionally adjust to the Ghanaian cultural context. The SIEs could be particularly susceptible to cultural failure because they have no institutional support.

Research design, approach and method: This study had a sample size of 397 Chinese SIEs and used quantitative design. Data for this study were gathered using an online survey and analysed using partial least square (PLS)-structural equation model. A number of fundamental analyses were performed, including a description of data entry, missing value processing, outlier handling, assessing normalcy and linearity, and analysing measurement reliability and validity issues. The bivariate correlations between principal variables were investigated.

Main findings: A positive relationship between all constructs of CQ and IA of Chinese SIEs in Ghana was found by the study.

Practical/managerial implications: The study suggests that cross-cultural managers and expatriate coaches should focus their training on the four constructs of CQ for effective IA of SIEs.

Contribution/value added: This study contributes to CQ research on SIEs’ cross-cultural assimilation, and it will serve as a reference for further studies.


cultural intelligence; interactional adjustment; cultural failure; cultural distance; self-initiated expatriation.

JEL Codes

M19: Other

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth


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