Research on intercultural adaptation of Chinese enterprise personnel in Saudi Arabia

  •  Guangcun Zhao    


Chinese enterprise personnel are faced with the problem of intercultural adaptation. Based on Black's theory of "three-dimensional" model of intercultural adaptation, this paper proposes a "four-dimensional" model of intercultural adaptation, namely, life adaptation, work adaptation, interpersonal adaptation and Chinese image adaptation. The research method of semi-structured in-depth interview is used to interview 23 Chinese people from one Chinese enterprise in Saudi Arabia, who have worked there for at least one year. We get findings as follows: (1) Life adaptation: maladjustment is mainly reflected in religious restriction. Especially, religious regulations and taboos make the life of Chinese enterprise personnel restricted. However, there are also many aspects of adaptation, such as Saudi cuisine, living environment and leisure life, which bring the satisfaction of life demands to Chinese enterprise personnel. (2) Work adaptation: foreign companies must employ a certain proportion of local people to work in their companies; the roles of buyers and sellers in Saudi Arabia and in China are different; the concept of time is different. (3) Interpersonal adaptation: Chinese people in Saudi Arabia still have the most frequent contact with their Chinese compatriots, and it is difficult for them to develop close friendship with foreigners. Chinese people are good at creating harmonious interpersonal relationships for work through some after-work activities, such as drinking tea, eating out and holding football matches. (4) Chinese image adaptation: Chinese enterprise personnel in Saudi Arabia have decent income, and Saudi police fail to check Chinese cars, all of which make the Chinese people have a positive face value.

In view of the above four adaptation situations of Chinese enterprise personnel in Saudi Arabia, the following suggestions are proposed: (1) Be strict with yourself in life, respect local social and religious customs, and also keep a careful attitude and actively deal with disadvantageous factors. (2) While benefiting from working or doing business in Saudi Arabia, we should make contributions for the development of local economy and society, providing employment and training for local people. (3) We should observe the local laws and regulations, and also follow the local and international market rules. (4) In interpersonal communication, we should combine the maintenance mode of Chinese "guanxi" (relationship) with western "principle" on the one hand, and make a difference between them on the other hand. (5) In terms of image adaptation, besides maintaining a good image politically and economically, it is also necessary to improve our individual quality and our cultural cultivation overseas, be a communicator bridging Chinese and foreign excellent culture, and build a positive national image and individual image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • Issn(Print): 1925-4741
  • Issn(Onlne): 1925-475X
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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