Cultural and Emotional Intelligence: Its Role in the Cross-Cultural Adjustment of Filipino Expatriates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Ramil A. Dinglasa


With the rise of globalization, labor migration is estimated to increase as developed countries will experience shortages in skills of certain age brackets of the working population, thus, requiring more migrant labor in order to address this gap. Filipinos represent a considerable number of expatriates around the world. By 2018, there were 2.3 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), and 24.3 % (558,900) of them worked in Saudi Arabia. These expatriates pursue economic opportunities in the Kingdom due to better job prospects and higher earning potential despite the cross-cultural adjustment challenges. This study aims to explore the influence of Cultural and Emotional intelligence in the cross-cultural adjustment of Filipino expatriates in Saudi Arabia. A survey was conducted on 483 male OFWs, both descriptive and correlational research methods were used to test the hypotheses. Correlation results showed the significant positive associations with moderately strong correlations between cultural intelligence (CQ) and the cross-cultural adjustment of Filipino expatriates in Saudi Arabia. Behavioral and motivational CQ could significantly predict the cross-cultural adjustment of Filipino expatriates. Emotional intelligence (EQ) and the expatriate Filipino’s cross-cultural adjustment in Saudi Arabia showed significant association, with Appraisal and Recognition of Emotion in Others as its strongest predictor. The Filipino expatriates’ status, first time or seasoned, significantly moderated the association between EQ factors and their cross-cultural adjustment degree. This study suggests that high CQ and EQ levels along with previous experience with the host country could serve well as important considerations in international careers. This paper contributes a new perspective to the literature on Filipino expatriate management and cross-cultural adjustment.

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