Who am I and where do I belong? Cultural identity conflict, negotiation and intercultural competence among Chinese international students
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
In order to improve international student enrolment, universities have to tackle challenges of ensuring satisfying experience of enrolled international students that is perceived to greatly impact future recruitment. Accordingly, this research aims to provide valuable insights into Chinese international students’ cultural identity conflict that hinders their obtainment of a positive overseas experience. An online survey assessing a range of predictors of cultural identity conflict involving personality traits, ethnic and host cultural identity strength, intergroup factors and strategies of negotiating ethnic and host cultures, and how identity conflict and various identity negotiation strategies influence intercultural competence, was distributed to the entire pool of Chinese students enrolled in a New Zealand university and an Australian university. A total of 255 students completed the survey. Multiple regression analysis revealed that conscientiousness, secure attachment, commitment to ethnic identity, low perceived discrimination, easy access to academic activities with host students significantly protected Chinese students from experiencing cultural identity conflict, whereas preoccupied and fearful attachment, assimilation strategy increased the risk of identity conflict. Additionally, Alternation between cultural demands as one of variations of integration strategy was surprisingly found to exacerbate identity conflict and led to lower levels of intercultural sensitivity, while the other variation, blending strategy significantly resulted in greater intercultural sensitivity. Managerial implications for educational institutions were discussed based on these results. To advance this field of study, limitations of the current research and future research avenues were also presented.