Cross-Cultural Adjustment of Expatriates Working with Thais in Chiang Mai: A Qualitative Study in Behavioral Sciences

Main Article Content

Pinnapa Muakyod
Saowaree Chiwan
Sani Saihomhual
Li Ying
Thanyalak Boonlue


This qualitative study was to analyze the factors influencing an adjustment process of expatriates working with Thais. Empirical data was collected through qualitative research, consisting of in-depth interviews, in which the data were analyzed by using a content analysis method. Data collection was from 30 key informants selected by using the purposive sampling method and using a snowball technique. They were ASEAN expatriates, also Asians, Europeans, Americans, Australians, and Africans, who have been working with the Thais in Chiang Mai for at least 10 months. Finding from the analyzes reflected several factors influencing the cross-cultural adjustment of expatriates working with Thais. They were categorized into 2 phases. The first phase was Out-Country Adjustment, which is before traveling into Thailand to work. This phase consisted of motivations including push factors, pull factors, individual factors, and anticipatory adjustment, which includes training, previous experience, selection mechanisms and criteria. The second phase was In-Country Adjustment, which includes attitude, perceptual skill, personality, self-efficacy, cross-cultural motivation, cross-cultural communication, social support, organizational support, and job. The findings of this research can be used in organizations with international employees as the guidelines to provide social support, preparation, orientation, and expatriate management.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Muakyod, P., Chiwan, S., Saihomhual, S., Ying, L., & Boonlue, T. (2020). Cross-Cultural Adjustment of Expatriates Working with Thais in Chiang Mai: A Qualitative Study in Behavioral Sciences. Journal of Human Sciences, 21(3), 106-127. Retrieved from
Research Articles


Black, J. S., Mendenhall, M., & Oddou, G. (1991). Toward a comprehensive model of international adjustment: An integration of multiple theoretical perspectives. The Academy of Management Review, 16(2). 291-317.
Boon-arch, S. (2015). krabuankan prap tua thang watthanatham khong naksưksa chao Lao læ chao Kamphucha nai mahawitthayalai Ubon ratchathani [Intercultural Adaptation Process of Laos and Cambodian Students in Ubon Ratchathani University]. The Journal of communication art, 33(2). 91-105.
Buripakdeen, C. (1988-1989). watthanatham kanthamngan khong Khon Thai [Work cultural in Thai] (Research report). Bangkok: Office of the National Culture Commission.
Caligiuri, P. M., Jacobs, R. R., & Farr, J. L. (2000). The Attitudinal and Behavioral Openness Scale: Scale development and construct validation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 24(1). 27–46.
Caligiuri, P.M., Phillips, J., Lazarova, M., Tarique, I., & Burgi, P. (2001). The theory of metexpectations applied to expatriate adjustment: the role of cross cultural training. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 12(May 2001). 357-372.
Chantarayukol, P. (2015). kan prap tua kham watthanatham khong achan chao tang chat nai boribot kitchakan dan kansưksa nai prathet Thai [The Cross-cultural adjustment of international expatriate academic members to Thai educational business context] (Doctoral dissertation, Rangsit University).
Chen, G., Kirkman, B.L., Kim, K., Farh, C.I.C., & Tangirala, S., (2017). When Does Cross-Cultural Motivation Enhance Expatriate Effectiveness? A Multilevel Investigation of the Moderating Roles of Subsidiary Support and Cultural Distance. Academy of Management Journal, 53(5). Retrieved from
Chotiban, N & Yolao, D. (1998). thammai chưng tham wichai kham watthanatham [Why Cross-culteral?:]. Journal of Behavioral Science, 4(1). 29-45.
Church, A. (1982). Sojourner Adjustment. Psychological Bulletin, 91. 540-572. Retrieved from
Dickmann, M., Doherty, N., Millsa, T., & Brewster, C. (2008). Why do they go? Individual and corporate perspectives on the factors influencing the decision to accept an international assignment. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19(April 2008). 731-751.
Dowling, P. J., Festing, M., & Engle, A. D. (2008). International human resource Management (5th ed.). UK: Cengage Learning.
Froese, F. J., Peltokorpi, V., & Ko, K. A., (2012). The influence of intercultural communication on cross-cultural adjustment and work attitudes: Foreign workers in South Korea. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36(3). 331-342.
Fukuda, M. (2015). Language Life of Japanese Expatriates in Non-English Speaking Countries: The Cases of Barcelofona and Madrid. Social and BehavioralSciences, 212. 85-92.
Grelecka, J. D., (2016). What factors affect expatriate adjustment? Study of differences between self-initiated and assigned expatriates in Poland. (Master’s dissertation, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa).
Hall, E. T. (1976). Beyond culture. NY: Doubleday.
Harkins, B. (2019). Thailand Migration Report 2019. Bangkok: United Nations Thematic Working Group on Migration in Thailand.
Hobgood, C. D., Riviello, R. J., Jouriles, N., & Hamilton, G. (2002). Assessment of Communication and Interpersonal Skills Competencies. Academic Emerg Med, 9(11). 1257-1269.
Huff, K. C., Song, P., & Gresch, E. B. (2013). Cultural intelligence, personality, and cross-cultural adjustment: A study of expatriates in Japan. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 38. 151-157.
Johnson, V. (2007). What is organizational imprinting? Cultural entrepreneurship in the founding of the Paris opera. American Journal of Sociology, 113(2007). 97-127.
Jyoti, J., & Kour, S. (2017). Factors affecting cultural intelligence and its impact on job performance: Role of cross-cultural adjustment, experience, and perceived social support. Personal Review, 46(4). 767-791.
Kim, K., & Slocum Jr., John W., (2008). Individual differences and expatriate assignment effectiveness: The case of U.S.-based Korean expatriates. Journal of World Business, Elsevier, 43(1). 109-126.
Kim, Y. Y. (2017). Cross-cultural Adaptation. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Retrieved from doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.21.
Komin, S. (1990, January). Culture and Work-Related Values in Thai Organizations. International Journal of Psychology, 25. 681-704.
Lysgaard, S. (1955). Adjustment in a foreign society: Norwegian Fulbright grantees visiting the United States. International Social Science Bulletin, 7. 45-50.
Malek, M. A., & Budhwar, P. (2010). Cultural intelligence as a predictor of expatriate adjustment and performance in Malaysia. Journal of World Business, 48(2). 222-231.
Matsumoto, D. (2000). Culture and psychology: People around the world (2nd ed.). Wadsworth: Thomson Learning.
Moon, H. K., Choi, B. K., & Jung, J. S. (2012). Previous international experience, cross-cultural training, and expatriates' cross-cultural adjustment: Effects of cultural intelligence and goal orientation. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 23(3). 285–330.
Muakyod, P., Boonlue, T., Chiwan, S., Saihomhual, S., & Ying, L. (2019). kan prap tua kham watthanatham kho̜ng chaotangchat thi tham ngan kap Khon Thai [Cross-Cultural Adjustment of Expatriates Working with Thais]. Chiang Mai, Maejo University.
Nitthayayon, N. (2006). kan prap tua læ bukkhalikkaphap [Adaptation and Personality]. Bangkok: San suksa kanphim.
Okpara, J.O. (2016). Cross-cultural adjustment of expatriates: Exploring factors influencing adjustment of expatriates in Nigeria. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 16(3). Retrieved from doi: 10.1177/1470595816671149
Peltokorpi, V. (2008). Cross Cultural adjustment of expatriates in Japan. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19(9). 1588-1606.
Poonpol, P. (2016). patchai dan bukkhon sangkhom læ watthanatham thi mi itthiphon to kan prap tua khong naksưksa chak klum prathet Asian thi dai rap thun thang sangkhom phan sư sangkhom onlanai [The Influence of Personal, Social and Cultural Factors on Cross-Cultural Adjustment among International Students in Thailand and the Mediating Impact of Online Social Capital]. Journal of Behavioral Science, 23(1). 105-121.
Ramsay, S., Jones, E., & Barker M. (2007). Relationships between adjustment and support types: Young and mature-aged local and international first year university students. Higher Education, 54(2). 247-265.
Sambasivan, M., Sadoughi, M., & Esmaeilzadeh, P. (2017). Investigating the factors influencing cultural adjustment and expatriate performance: The case of Malaysia. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 66(8). 1002-1019.
Selmer, J., & Lauring, J. (2010). Self-initiated academic expatriates: Inherent demographics and reasons to expatriate. European Management Review, 7(3). 169-179.
Soininen, V., & Mannebratt, M.R. (2018). Factors Influencing Cross-Cultural Adjustment: Swedish Expatriates in East Asia Pacific. Retrieved from
Suwannatat, J., (1994). næokhit lang thang phrưttikam sat: thritsadi kanwichai læ kanprayukchai [Principles of behavioral sciences: Theory, research, and application]. Journal of Behavioral Science, 1(1). 17-21.
Takeuchi, R., Marinova, S. V., Lepak, D. P., & Liu, W. (2005). A model of expatriate withdrawal-related outcomes; Decision making from a dualistic adjustment perspective. Human Resource Management Review, 15(2). 119-138.
Tekeuchi. R. (2010). A critical review of expatriate adjustment research through a multiplestakeholder view: Progress, emerging trends, and prospects. Journal of Management, 36(4). 1040-1064.
Victor, Y., Haines III, Tania, S., & Evelyne, C. (2008). Intrinsic motivation for an international assignment. International Journal of Manpower, 29(5). 443-461.
Ward, C. & Kennedy, A. (1993). Psychological and Socio-Cultural Adjustment During Cross-Cultural Transitions: A Comparison of Secondary Students Overseas and at Home. International Journal of Psychology, 28(2). 129-147.
Wu, P., & Ang, S. H. (2011). The impact of expatriate supporting practices and cultural intelligence on cross-cultural adjustment and performance of expatriates in Singapore. The International Human Resources Management, 22(13). 2683-2702.