Intercultural competence, foreign language mastery, psychological adjustment, and job orientation.

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In today’s global business environment, understanding each other’s cultural background is important in order to be internationally successful. What plays an important role in individual success in international assignments is the extent to which a person fits the position of the job (i.e. nationally or internationally oriented). Intercultural competence can contribute to that fit and can be defined as “the ability to function effectively in another culture” (Gertsen, 1990, p.431) and with “people of different social identities” (Byram, 2000, p.5) which leads to “success in the fields of professional effectiveness, personal adjustment and intercultural interactions” (Van Der Zee & Van Oudenhoven, 2000, p.293). People with a higher level of intercultural competence are expected to be more internationally successful than people with lower levels of intercultural competence. Additional to intercultural competence, measured with the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (MPQ), foreign language mastery should be taken into consideration when predicting international success (Korzilius, Van Hooft, Planken, Hendrix, 2011), which consists of the number of spoken foreign languages and the self-assessed proficiency in those foreign languages. The present study added psychological adjustment as a variable that is possibly related to the MPQ dimensions and foreign language mastery (Yukanina, Weigold, Weigold, Hercegovac & Elsayed, 2012; Basow & Gaugler, 2017). The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between the MPQ dimensions, foreign language mastery, and psychological adjustment, and to determine whether the MPQ dimensions and foreign language mastery can predict psychological adjustment and job orientation (i.e. whether an employee works nationally or internationally). Results showed that all MPQ dimensions correlated, except for cultural empathy and flexibility, cultural empathy and emotional stability, and open-mindedness and emotional stability. Furthermore, some correlations were found with regard to psychological adjustment and no correlations were found with regard to foreign language mastery. Unexpectedly, both the MPQ dimensions and foreign language mastery did not predict job orientation. With regard to psychological adjustment, emotional stability was shown to be a significant predictor. These findings suggest that for British companies it would be recommended to focus on personal characteristics (i.e. the MPQ dimensions) in order to enhance psychological adjustment abroad and therefore be internationally successful.
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