Influence of Goal-Orientation and Self-Efficacy on International Students Cultural Adjustment

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The Influence of Goal-Orientation and Self-Efficacy on International Students Cultural Adjustment in China.

 

ABSTRACT

In this study, the goal orientation theory was discussed to the study of cross-cultural adjustment for the international students who come to study in China. The fact that some expatriates adjust more quickly and easily than others is self-evident, but the reasons for differences in cross-cultural adaptation are not. With the expansion of globalization and the rapid development of China’s economy, the number of international students that come to China to study is increasing. Therefore, the question of their cultural adaptation remains very important.

This research answers the following research question: What factors or characteristic influences the level of international students’ sociocultural and psychological adjustment in a new cultural environment? In order to answer this question in our research work, we investigated the relationship between learning goal orientation, self-efficacy, to their sociocultural and psychological adjustment. We proposed a positive effect of learning goal orientation with sociocultural adjustment and a mediation role of self-efficacy between these two research variables. Also, the learning goal orientation had a slightly positive impact towards psychological adjustment. At the same time, this research suggests moderation role of perceived culture distance that foreign students’ have in their minds when they enter the new host country between self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment relationship.

To empirically test our hypotheses, we created and distributed two rounds of the questionnaire survey and collected survey data from 125 international students from 36 different countries studying in China. Factor analysis result demonstrated a two-factor structure of the goal orientation scale developed by Button, Mathieu, and Zajac (Organ. Behavior Human Decision Process. 67 (1996) 26). Data was collected from different universities and business schools. All participants were full-time Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctor’s degree students or were enrolled for language courses at their universities. Participants were majoring in architecture, finance, management, international business, economics, biomedical engineering and Chinese language studies.

Regression analysis result indicated that hypothesis on positive relation between learning goal orientation, self-efficacy, and sociocultural adjustment. It also indicated a negative moderation effect of perceived culture distance that proved to have a weakening impact on the relation between self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment. We also found a slightly positive relation between learning goal orientation and psychological adjustment. We discussed the results as well as study limitations and direction for future research in the last chapters.

KEYWORDS: Learning goal orientation, Cultural adaptation, sociocultural adjustment, psychological adjustment, perceived culture distance, self-efficacy, international students.

                                                Table of Contents

Claims of Originality &Thesis authorisation………………………….  I

摘 要………………………………………………………  III

Abstract…………………………………………………..   V

Contents…………………………………………………   VII

Table of catalog……………………………………………..  X

Chapter 1. Introduction…………………………………………   – 1 –

1.1 Research background – 1 –

1.2 Research Objectives – 3 –

1.3 Research question – 5 –

1.4 Thesis structure – 6 –

Chapter 2. Literature review……………………………………- 8 –

2.1. An overview of cultural adaption and culture differences on adjustment  – 8 –

2.1.1. Cultural context – 8 –

2.1.2. Culture difference between China and other countries  – 10 –

2.2 Expats Adjustment  – 13 –

2.2.1 Socio- cultural Adjustment Specifications  – 13 –

2.2.2 Psychological adjustment specifications  – 13 –

2.2.3 Poor expats adjustment outcomes  – 14 –

2.3 Goal Orientation  – 17 –

2.3.1 Learning Goal Orientation  – 17 –

2.3.2 Performance Goal Orientation  – 18 –

2.4 Self-efficacy  – 18 –

2.4.1 Self-efficacy specifications  – 18 –

2.4.2 Factors influencing self-efficacy – 19 –

2.4.3 Effects of General Self-efficacy  – 20 –

2.5 Literature review on Distance Factors  – 21 –

2.5.1 Overview and specifications of Psychic Distance   – 21 –

2.5.2 Psychic Distance Indicators  – 24 –

2.5.3 Cultural distance and Psychic Distance    – 25 –

2.6 Related studies on personal characteristics  – 27 –

2.6.1 Factors affecting Personal Characteristics and its specifications  – 27 –

Chapter 3. Research hypotheses and model development……………….- 29 –

3.1 Learning goal orientation and self-efficacy  – 30 –

3.2 Self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment – 32-

3.3 Moderating effect of Perceived culture distance  – 37 –

3.4 Learning goal orientation and psychological adjustment – 38 –

3.5 Learning goal orientation and sociocultural adjustment – 40 –

Chapter 4. Research method……………………………………- 45 –

4.1 Research design – 45 –

4.2 Data collection – 46-

4.3 Scales design – 46 –

4.3.1 Goal orientation – 47 –

4.3.2 Self-efficacy – 47 –

4.3.3 Sociocultural and psychological adjustment   ….. – 48 –

4.3.4 Perceived culture distance  – 49 –

4.3.5 Other basic information  – 49 –

4.4 Data analysis results…………………………………………………………………-51-              Chapter 5. Discussion

5.1. Research findings discussion – 56 –

5.2. Direction for future research – 60 –

5.3 Research findings implications – 61 –

5.4. Study limitations  – 62 –

REFRENCES……………………………………………..- 63 –

APPENDIX – 69 –

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT …………………………………  – 73 –

Table Catalog

Table 1: International students in China …………………………………………… – 4 –

Table 2. Definitions of cultural adaptation ……………………………………………… – 9 –

Table 3. Definition of Variable reliability……………………………………………- 50 –

Table 4. Descriptive Statistics and Interco relations Matrix of the Study Variables ………. -51 –

Table 5. The regression analysis of direct effect………………………….………….- 52-

Table 6. The regression analysis of mediation effect………………………………………….- 53 –

Table 7. The regression analysis of moderation effect…………………….…….…..- 54-

Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1  Research background

       According to Hofstede (1980), culture is “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another” (Hofstede, 1980: 21). The “collective programming” is, therefore, responsible for conditioning behaviors, individuals’ which account for substantial differences between countries. In the International Students literature, this widespread view that cultural differences are the main reason for their failure has not yet led, to any changes in the process of adjustment for them. Most studies have examined the effects of cultural differences (for a review see Harzing, 2003; and Sousa & Bradley, 2008), and have relied almost exclusively on the use of Hofstede’s (1980) cultural indices, which have narrowed the study of culture’s influence.

According to American Managing Commission, every year there is a big number of expatriate that fails to adapt to local culture on different assignments and task. This leads to poor performance and high life stress, ultimately causes such people to be relocated back to their home countries. Although the replacement cost for a single employee on a foreign assignment ranges between $20.000 – $50.000 repatriation of expatriates who failed to adjust to a new country is very common nowadays. Moreover, there are many other widely known cases when cross-cultural difference caused failure in business or political affairs between Chinese and foreigners. A failure in negotiations of setting up an ALDI superstore in china faced many cultural differences in negotiation practices, as a result, was unsuccessful unsetting up a store in China, this can be a bright example of why and how culture matters while working with China.

The problems of intercultural adjustment are of utmost importance to all the people who have experienced or will experience the stress of living in a different culture (Matsumoto, Jeffrey, LeRoux, Bernhard & Gray, 2004). The ability to adjust one’s behavior and the perception to function in the host country is the main predictor of success (Harrison, Chadwick, and Scales, 1996), particularly in a cultural environment that is significantly different from the milieu one comes from.

According to Sousa and Bradley (2008), cultural differences can be measured by two separate and distinct concepts: cultural distance and psychic distance. Cultural distance refers to cultural differences at a national level, and related norms and values; while psychic distance refers to cultural differences at an individual level, related to individuals’ perceptions of national cultural differences. One of the major factors that may contribute to the adjustment of the International students is the Goal Orientation factor which determines the type of orientation process the person is willing to adopt accordingly which makes the adjustment process easier for the person and it will be further discussed in more detail in the literature review. This study aims to explain how different goal orientation concept helps in foreign student’s adjustment process in the host country and what are the variable which influences such relation when foreign people move to China for study?

1.2 Research Objectives

The Increase in Globalization and rapid development of China’s Economy has catered the attention of many people to come study and work in china, due to recession in jobs and also high tuition fees in their home country colleges. This has caused the issue of Cultural Differences for the people when they come to China and they find it hard to adapt to the new culture and perform effectively in the Universities of china. (Harrison, Shaffer & Luk, 2005.).

With the high-speed economic development in China and the constant improvement of international status since the reform and opening-up in China, more and more foreigners choose to study or work in China. When the people from abroad come to study or work in china they find it very difficult to adjust and also some people who had been living in China for many years from the past, start to adapt the culture and feel close to the Host Country (China).  These foreign students can further integrate into the Chinese public and cultural life, they can deepen accumulation of traditional Chinese culture. This will expand China’s influence in the world and can build the basis for attracting world’s talents to work in China. Therefore, discussion on the influence of Personal Characteristics, Goal Orientation and Self-efficacy on the adjustment of the foreign students in China is of great practical Importance.

Every year an estimate of more than 350,000 international students come to china for their studies. China is becoming a major choice for these students due to the increasing importance of china in the world economy and also due to the government provided a scholarship for the foreigners. As, the students are the resources for the future jobs in the big and small companies, so their adjustment can lead to better performance and high productivity which will enhance the company’s overall growth. There is a great need to study the importance of various factors which leads to adjustment of International students in the host country. Since China differs a lot in the cultural from other countries and people find it often hard to adjust in China, so this research will lead to various factors that lead to adjustment of foreign students in the host country.

Table 1: International students in China

Rank Place of Origin Number of Students Percent of Total
1 South Korea 66,675 16.8%
2 United States 21,975 5.5%
3 Thailand 19,976 5.0%
4 India 16,694 4.2%
5 Russia 16,197 4.1%
6 Pakistan 15,654 3.9%
7 Japan 14,085 3.5%
8 Kazakhstan 13,198 3.3%
9 Indonesia 12,694 3.2%
10 France 10,436 2.6%
All Others 190,054 47.8%

Source: China Scholarship Council, 2016

Total international student enrollment: 397,635

This study aims to contribute to:

  1. Understanding the cultural differences of foreign students in China.
  2. Understanding the impact of goal orientation on international student’s adjustment in the host Country.
  3. Providing recommendations to foreign students for their better understanding of the Host country (China), and what factors can contribute best to their adjustment in China.
  4. Understanding the concept of self-efficacy in expats adjustment process.

1.3  Research questions

Some of the issues that are still debated are why some individuals adapt more easily than others cross-culturally. Some theorists suggest that an individual’s personal characteristics have an important effect on foreign student’s adjustments (Church, 1982; Church & Lonner, 1998; Ruben & Kealey, 1979; Smith & Bond, 1999; Ward, 1996).  A lot of researches have been done on how culture distance affects the expats adjustments but none or a few research has been done taking into account the Goal Orientation, Self-efficacy, perceived culture distance and personal characteristics that affect the foreign student’s adjustment in China. Moreover, this study will focus on choosing international student’s country as their Home Country and China as Host Country and then determine to which extent this goal orientation, self-efficacy, perceived distance factors and personal Characteristics affects expats adjustments.

The utilized survey instrument and previously validated scales to develop a more comprehensive assessment framework and to answer our research question:

  1. What factors or characteristic influences the level of international students’ sociocultural and psychological adjustment in a new cultural environment?
  2. How important is learning goal orientation for the foreign student’s adjustment in the host country?
  3. What is the mechanism in the relation between learning goal orientation and cultural adjustment of foreign student’s in the host country?
  4. How does self-efficacy help in the foreign student adjustment process in the host country China?
  5. How perceived culture distance influences the adjustment process of the foreign students in China?

1.4 Thesis structure

The thesis is divided into six chapters:

The first chapter 1 is about, introduction describes the study background, significance of research and raises the research questions.

The second part provides a review of related literature, including key details about the cultural differences between china and other countries, and extent of culture differences between home and host country, goal orientation, self-efficacy and its impact on adjustment, theoretical framework, which includes chapter 2 (Literature review) and chapter 3 (Research hypothesis development and model). Definitions and theories of cultural differences, Psychic Distance, Personal Characteristics, Goal Orientation, Expats adjustment and Cross-culture learning, are reviewed and summarized in Chapter 2.  In chapter 3 through analyzing literature background on relationships between perceived culture distance, personal characteristics, Goal orientation, self-efficacy, socio-cultural and psychological adjustment, we will suggest a respective hypothesis.

The third part provides empirical research method and data, which includes chapter 4 (Research method) and chapter 5 (Data analysis results). Chapter 4 describes empirical methods used in research, sample sources and scale selection. In chapter 5 we will report the results of data descriptive analyze, correlation analysis as well as results of regression analysis.

The final discussion of research findings and conclusion are drawn in Chapter 6, where we briefly summarize research results of the third part, and also mentioned problems occurred.

Chapter 2. Literature review

2.1. An overview of cultural adoption and culture differences on adjustment

   2.1.1. Cultural context

Culture is most commonly defined as the “collective programming of the mind” (Hofstede, 2001, p. 9) and has been very difficult to differentiate in cross-cultural work. In the earliest classical reviews of anthropological literature, Kluckhohn and Kroeberg (1952) found not less than 150 separate definitions of culture and concluded that the idea consists of shared patterns of attitude and behavior which serve as a blueprint for future performance. Some other often-cited definitions include the “shared cognitions, standard operating procedures, unexamined assumptions” (Triandis, 1996, p. 407) and human-created part of the environment (Herskovits, 1955). While all of these definitions are useful, for the purpose of this dissertation, Hofstede’s (2001) definition, which differentiates one group of people from another, will be used, which is also one of the most widely used definitions today in cross-cultural research. Moreover, we found following definitions and descriptions of cultural adaptation:

Cross-cultural adaptation refers to the ability of an individual to fit in or negotiate interactive aspects of the new cultural environment’’. Ward & Rana-Deuba, 1999
Cross-cultural adaptation is a complex and diverse process in which a person becomes capable of functioning effectively in the culture where other than he or she was originally socialized in’’. Haslberger, 2005
Cross-cultural adaptation is the process of framing larger structures of meaning (concepts, ideas, problems) to fit the explanatory models of a distinct population’’. Kleinman, 1981
Cross-cultural adaptation is essentially the production of an equivalent instrument adapted to another culture’’. Guillemin, 1993
Cross-cultural adaptation is the dynamic vast process by which individuals, upon relocating to a new, unfamiliar, or changed the sociocultural environment, which helps in establish and maintain a relatively stable, reciprocal, and functional relationship with the environment’’. Kim, 2001
Cross-cultural adaptation is a term used to signify an individual’s ability to function sufficiently in a new cultural environment’’. Searl & Ward, 1990
Cross-cultural adaptation refers to the ability of an individual to fit in or negotiate interactive aspects of the new cultural environment’’. Ward & Rana-Deuba, 1999
Cross-cultural adaptation is a complex and diverse process in which a person becomes capable of functioning effectively in the culture where other than he or she was originally socialized in’’. Haslberger, 2005
Cross-cultural adaptation is the process of framing larger structures of meaning (concepts, ideas, problems) to fit the explanatory models of a distinct population’’. Kleinman, 1981
Cross-cultural adaptation is essentially the production of an equivalent instrument adapted to another culture’’. Guillemin, 1993
Cross-cultural adaptation is the dynamic vast process by which individuals, upon relocating to a new, unfamiliar, or changed the sociocultural environment, which helps in establish and maintain a relatively stable, reciprocal, and functional relationship with the environment’’. Kim, 2001
Cross-cultural adaptation is a term used to signify an individual’s ability to function sufficiently in a new cultural environment’’. Searl & Ward, 1990

Table 2. Definitions of cultural adaptation.

Academic research has drawn a clear line of distinction between psychological and sociocultural adaptation, also known as emotional and behavioral facets of the adaptation process. Sociocultural adaptation refers to how well an acculturating person is able to manage his daily life in another cultural environment.

Sociocultural adaptation and Psychological adaptation are inter-related but conceptually different notions. The former is predicted by cultural difference, culture identity, the ability to speak a common tongue, and knowledge of culture (Ward & Kennedy, 1993a), and the following one, by personality variables, life changes, and social support.

In management literature, there are various frameworks for cultural adaptation assessment that derived from author’s definition of cross-cultural adaptation. Based on literature review

we developed an integrative framework that combined four facets of adjustment t, including academic or work adjustment (Pascarella and Terenzini, 1991), psychological adjustment (Goldberg, 1972), adjustment to general conditions (Black and Stephens 1989) and interactional adjustment (Black and Stephens 1989) which all together comes in Expatriate Adjustment and therefore conducted the data analysis. In this work, we will take into account the Expats adjustment of international students in the host country (China), which will include the Psychological, and Sociocultural adjustment.

2.1.2. Culture difference between China and other countries

Since the introduction of the ‘Open Door’ policy in the late 1970s, China has undergone various economic and social transformations. The country’s entry into the WTO has accentuated its importance as a current and potential market for foreigners and other international business firms to come and work in china.

Working in a culturally different environment is always a big challenge, so it is not surprising that the lack of language ability and cultural knowledge, as well as a difficulty in adjusting to the local culture, are major factors contributing to their failure (Briscoe & Schuler; 2004; Dowling & Welch, 2005). Consequently, becoming aware of cultural differences, learning about cultures and having competence in cross-cultural communication are must for the foreign students so that they can adjust to a new cultural environment and carry out a successful overseas assignment. For the expatriates, then, cultural issues of all sorts, whether at home or in the host country, become basic concerns. Culture is what makes us what we are and our cultural backgrounds influence everything we do at all times and in all places (Boakari, 2004). Now, in order to be functional in a different culture, we need to appreciate its norms, values, beliefs and behavior patterns and learn to adjust them as much as possible.

Interpersonal interactions are relatively difficult in China in the absence of a common language. The language barrier is substantial, despite the fact that the level of English proficiency is generally rising in China. The international students especially have to deal with a very different way of life than in their own country and have to perform in an unfamiliar work content. Evidence suggesting that many expatriates could find life and work in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) very frustrating. Complaining about everything from the low standard of hygiene and medical care to high rent levels and inadequate accommodations makes life appear difficult and inconvenient to foreign business people in china. Study-wise, foreign students are often dismayed by passive Chinese employees and the lack of informational reciprocity in general.

Such challenging experiences could affect their well-being, even leading to depression and other psychiatric disorders. Although a primary problem for the individual, such feelings would inevitably lower the study performance of these foreign students and could also result in premature repatriation and failure.

While the culture in other countries is much different from the Chinese culture in terms of language, values, norms, lifestyle, communication and various other factors which are considered as the major reason why these foreign students find it difficult to adjust in China.

General adjustment for foreign students in Beijing and Shanghai, China should be relatively easy, due to the good provision of modern conveniences. Living conditions, in general, are good, with ample supply of Western and Asian food, excellent shopping, good housing conditions, and good health care facilities.

2. 2 Expats Adjustment

Adaptation of immigrants can be defined as the process of “fitting in” to the society of settlement and functioning successfully in a new environment (Ward et al. 2001). Two distinct aspects of intercultural adaptation have been identified on the basis of past research (Ward et al. 2001). The first is a sociocultural adaptation, which is based on the culture learning approach and reflects the ability to engage in constructive interaction with a different culture. The other is a psychological adjustment, which facilitates the individual’s sense of wellbeing, positive appraisal of situations and general satisfaction with life.

2.2.1 Socio- cultural Adjustment Specifications

Expatriate adjustment is the process of adaptation to living and working in a foreign culture. Adjustment to a new environment is a crucial factor in the success of the foreign student as a whole. It is suggested that the impact on adjustment will depend on the personal characteristics as well as individual perception about the host country. Having a greater knowledge and understanding about the host country culture will have a positive effect on adjustment (Black and Gregersen 1991a). Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al. (2005) found that host country language knowledge facilitated cultural and interaction adjustment. Thus additional research into how individual perception towards the host country, distance and personal characteristics of expatriates influence adjustment is still necessary.

(Black, 1988; Black and Stephens, 1989; Black et al. 1991). suggested, and empirically confirmed, three distinct forms or dimensions of cross-cultural adjustment: (1) Academic adjustment, which refers to the comfort, associated with the new college life; (2) Interaction adjustment, which refers to the adjustment associated with the socialization with host country nationals, both at work and outside, and (3) General or cultural adjustment, which includes the adjustment to the non-work foreign living conditions, such as local food, cost of living, shopping, entertainment, transportation and health care facilities, all of which comes under socio-cultural adjustment.

2.2.2 Psychological adjustment specifications

As Psychological adjustment is of great paramount importance in the expatriate literature, therefore we include in the Expatriate adjustment model. Psychological adjustment refers to individuals’ subjective well-being or satisfaction in the host country or new situation (Selmer, 2005; Takeuchi, Wang and Marinova, 2005). The variables that enhance the individuals’ cognitions, emotions and personal characteristics have been related to psychological adjustment.

Black and Gregersen defined adjustment as “the degree of a sojourner’s psychological comfort with various aspects of a host country” (Black and Gergersen, 1991). It was defined as a “learning process during which sojourners learn the skills, norms, and behaviors appropriate to the new environment in order to be effective’’ (Brislin, Landis, & Brandt, 1983). Church in his research explained adjustment as “the removal of positive reinforcements and the presentation of aversive stimuli” (Church, 1982). Berry described adjustment as “a significant life event that involves a number of life changes” (Berry, 2006).

Modern scholars often view successful cross-cultural psychological adjustment, in part, as a reduction of the natural stress that an expatriate feels upon entering a new culture (Aycan, 1997; Berry, 1980). Some scholars have proposed that psychological adjustment is best understood within a stress and coping framework (Selmer, 1999b). Leong (2007) proposed that in psychological adjustment, the accent is on a number of depressive feelings experienced in acculturation, therefore the process of psychological adaption is connected to one’s emotional functioning, which according to previous research may be predicted by the key the amount of social support and the degree of ethnic-cultural maintenance.

2.2.3 Poor expats adjustment outcomes

Scholars have focused their interest in this subject first because of the claimed expatriates high failure rate and related costs (Black et al., 1991; Black, Gregersen and Mendenhall, 1993; Stroh, Dennis and Cramer, 1994), and also the effect of expats performance and results in the host country (Shay and Baack, 2006; Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al., 2005). In this context, the adjustment has been defined as the process individuals undergo to integrate a host country, including the ability to behave appropriately on a daily basis and the resulting satisfaction from the perception of being accepted (Black et al,1991).

It is suggested that ‘culture shock’ is more likely to occur in culturally distant rather than similar countries (Church 1982). Adler (2008) estimates that the ‘culture shock’ period may last up to 6 months after arrival in the host country. It often follows an initial ‘honeymoon’ phase, and actual adjustment occurs sometime after the reality of the expatriate’s new situation is finally realized (Black and Mendenhall 1991).

On entering a new country, the international students have to deal with several adjustment problems in a new social, academic and work environment. These problems may include difficulty in language and communication, accommodation and housing concerns, adjustment to different foods and tastes, changed climate, and difficulty in making social relations. The performance of expatriates may be affected by their ability to cope with these problems. Therefore, we can say that cultural adjustment plays an important role in successful completion of the expat’s study. (Nasir, 2011).

As international students make an important part of the institution, and also are the future prospects for the companies, there is a need to understand the factors that can contribute to their success overseas. As China and other foreign countries differ in culture to a greater extent, therefore, this study was designed to determine the extent to which personal characteristics and distance factors influence these foreign students adjustment in the host country (China).

2.3 Goal Orientation

Gong and Fan (2006) introduced goal orientation to the cross-cultural adaption literature by a longitudinal study amongst sojourning students. They find a direct positive relationship between learning goal orientation, with academic and social adjustment. Other fields suggest that learning and performance-proven goal orientations lead to positive outcomes and performance-avoid goal orientation is maladaptive in sales scope (VandeWalle, 1997).

 

During the motivation, person’s goal orientation serves as a super organizer of their affective, behavioral, and cognitive processes (Dweck, 2000). Goal orientation scholars have focused mainly on academic and task resultant, and they have found that relative to a performance orientation, a learning orientation enhances individuals’ self-efficacy, efforts, and cognition learning (e.g., Ames & Archer, 1988; Schraw, Horn, Christ, & Bruning, 1995).

Goal orientation refers to the general intention individuals bring to various achievement place setting. Insofar as an understanding of the host country it is a critical competency for successful adaption (e.g., Kealey & Ruben, 1983), it is important to testify the role of goal orientation in cross-cultural adjustment. Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors and attitudes that enable a sojourner to function effectively in cross-cultural situations (Earley & Ang, 2003). Competence in cross-cultural functioning requires the acquisition of new norms, skills, behavior patterns and their effective application (Brislin et al., 1983; Earley & Ang, 2003; Ward, Bochner, & Furnham, 2001). Because many things sojourners must master are novel and sometimes replication to their past routines, sojourners’ cross-cultural adjustment process is often fraught with temporary difficulty (Church, 1982).

2.3.1 Learning Goal Orientation

A learning orientation is characterized by a view of malleable abilities and a concern with increasing mastery levels (Dweck, 1986, 2000; Dweck & Leggett, 1988). When facing blackeye, learning-oriented individuals (a) attribute failure to less effort or low-efficient strategies and envision that increased effort leads to final success; (b) experience low level of  stress because feedback is suggestive of how to improve; and (c) continue to pursue challenging goals, try different strategies, and persist in the task (Dweck, 1986).

Learning is perceived as the process for increasing individual competency and is intrinsically rewarding. Behaviorally, individuals with learning goal orientations seek challenges that maximize the growth of competency. The occurrence of setbacks signals the insufficiency of current task strategy or effort. In the face of difficulties, individuals with learning goal orientations tend to escalate efforts or search for more effective strategies.

2.3.2 Performance Goal Orientation

According to goal orientation theory, individuals with performance goal orientations strive to demonstrate the adequacy of their abilities (Dweck, 1986). Behaviorally, performance goal orientated individuals tend to avoid challenges so as to minimize failure, and, as a result, sacrifice valuable learning opportunities (Dweck & Leggett, 1988).

Performance orientation is characterized by a view of fixed abilities and a concern with demonstrating the adequacy of one’s ability to others and/or avoiding negative judgments from others (Dweck, 1986; Dweck & Leggett, 1988). When facing black eye, performance-oriented individuals (a) attribute failure to lower level of ability and believe increased effort indicates low ability, (b) experience stress because their self-esteem is threatened, and (c) choose easy tasks or decrease their effort (Dweck, 1986; Dweck & Leggett, 1988). Performance orientation has also been used before in some literature as its effects on adjustment but it has not yet been used for the study of international students in China, which will be discussed and proven in this thesis.

2.4. Self-efficacy

2.4.1 Self-efficacy specifications

The logical space of self-efficacy is generally in light of Bandura’s hypothesis of self-efficacy to social conditions. He characterized self-efficacy as “convictions in one’s capacities to prepare the inspiration, psychological assets, and strategies expected to meet given situational requests” (Wood and Bandura, 1989). Inquire about found that self-efficacy could be an indicator of a few critical work related results, that included work states of mind (Saks, 1995), preparing capability (Martocchio and Judge, 1997), and work execution (Stajkovic and Luthans, 1998).

Bandura (1977) presented self-efficacy hypothesis as an idea for clarifying of a subjective procedure that causes changes in psychological settings. He assumed that an individual’s level of self-confidence can impact that individual’s practices. He likewise proposed four wellsprings of self-efficacy in his idea of result practices.

Self-efficacy is firmly identified with “the cooperation amongst individual and assignment” (Vrugt, Langereis, and Hoogstraten, 1997). As Bandura portrays it, “saw self-efficacy alludes to convictions in one’s capacities to compose and execute the strategies required to create given achievements” (Bandura, 1997).

Zimmerman and Schunk (2003) portrayed the apparent self-efficacy as “convictions in one’s capacities to compose and execute the strategies required to oversee imminent circumstances”. Bandura’s triadic proportional causation model of self and society depicted the consistent collaboration between the individual elements including subjective, full of feeling, and natural components, the conduct, and the earth and noticed that “contingent upon a specific circumstance, the quality of impact of any of those elements on alternate variables will change” (Bandura, 1997).

Sherer, Maddux, Mercandante, Prentice-Dunn, Jacobs, and Rogers (1982) proposed social self-efficacy as a different space amid the improvement of the Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale.

Toward the finish of a century ago, researchers ended up plainly keen on the more broad measurement of self-efficacy, that prompted the start of general self-efficacy investigate works of Judge, Locke, and Durham (1997), Judge, Erez, and Bono (1998), Eden (1996) Gardner and Pierce (1998). General self-efficacy is characterized as “people’s impression of their capacity to perform over an assortment of various circumstances” (Judge, Erez, and Bono 1998).

2.4.2 Factors Influencing self-efficacy Beliefs

Bandura (1977) characterized general self-efficacy as “convictions in one’s abilities to compose and execute the blueprints required to oversee forthcoming circumstance”. In administration writing, there are a few components that impact such convictions.

The first is learners’ own particular encounters of achievement or disappointment at a given assignment. They are generally the most effective wellspring of adequacy convictions (Bandura, 1982b).

The second approach to procuring general self-efficacy convictions is through vicarious encounters, which allude to watching others succeeding or fizzling at an assignment. Such adapting models are appeared to be more proficient than the others. Peer models likewise are additionally helpful to medicinal and crippled understudies (Bandura, 1986; Schunk, 1983).

Finally, physiological states are a wellspring of efficacy data (Bandura, 1982b). Individuals with high self-efficacy will probably decipher their physiological state as invigorating and animating. In the meantime individuals with low self-efficacy level frequently see their sentiments as restricting and crippling (Bandura, 1995).

2.4.3 Effects of General Self-efficacy beliefs

Self-efficacy convictions influence psychological procedures in various ways. Investigate demonstrated that individuals with high broad self-efficacy tend to set higher objectives and show higher responsibility to it. “Exceedingly self-effective people regularly imagine achievement and concentrate on those occasions that they can foresee and control as opposed to harp on deficiencies” (Bandura, 1993).

Self-efficacy convictions likewise influence motivational procedures. General self-efficacy convictions play into result hopes by affecting individuals’ convictions about their capacities and attitude toward conceivable results. People high in self-efficacy are typically more hopeful about the normal results and in this way more spurred to go up against the essential course of activities (Bandura, 1994).

Another imperative viewpoint is that general self-efficacy convictions affect causal attributions made by Individuals. Along these lines, exceptionally self-strong individuals see their disappointments as the consequence of exertion need while individuals with low self-efficacy consider their disappointments as the aftereffect of their low capacity.

In addition, self-efficacy convictions impact full of feeling procedures in various ways. For example, adapting capacities are affected by self-efficacy from anyone else viability convictions as exceedingly solid people see significantly more control over unpleasant variables and in this manner encounter fewer tensions. People low in self-efficacy encounter troubles controlling their points of view and produce additionally exasperating considerations that prompt tensions, included anxiety, and wretchedness (Bandura, 1995).

In conclusion, the determination procedures are affected independently from anyone else adequacy convictions. Very self-efficacious individuals trust they can practice more control over their surroundings and exercises they are included in. Profession decisions including graduate instruction are a case of how broad self-efficacy convictions apply impact on choice procedures (Bandura, 1994).

2.5 Literature review on Distance Factors

2.5.1 Overview and specifications of Psychic Distance

The popularization of the term Psychic distance originates from the Uppsala school of research (Håkanson and Ambos 2010, p. 196-197). To enhance the understanding of psychic distance, it is necessary to analyze in detail the terms that constitute the concept: “psychic” and “distance” (Evans, Treadgold, and Mavondo 2000). “Psychic,” word derived from the Greek word psychics, meaning the mind or soul (Simpson and Weiner 1989), referring to something in the mind of each individual. Within the last five years alone, 37 articles referring to psychic distance, or the closely associated concept – cultural distance, were published in the Journal of International Business Studies.

The concept of psychic distance was first developed by Beckerman (1956) in the study of the effect of distance on trade patterns. Vahlne and Johanson (1977, p. 24) later defined psychic distance as ‘the sum of factors preventing the flow of information between the market’. Over the years, the definition of psychic distance has also been refined. O’Grady and Lane (1996, p. 330) defined psychic distance as ‘the firm’s degree of uncertainty about a foreign market resulting from cultural difference and other business difficulties that present barriers to learning about the market and operating there’.

Evans and Mavondo (2002, p. 516) have argued, that none of the recent definitions adequately ‘encapsulate the two most important elements: Psychic and distance’. Instead, they argue that the perceptions of the individual should be a key consideration. They thus define psychic distance as ‘the distance between the home and a foreign market, resulting from the perception of both cultural and business differences’ (Evans and Mavondo 2002, p. 517). The concept of Psychic Distance has long been used for business only, but as we see the wide arena of this concept, it would be important to use this concept for the adjustment of foreign students taking into consideration the individual’s perception about the host country.

The distance exists in an individual’s mind and depends on how he or she perceives the world. Thus, it is the individual’s perception of the differences between the home country and the foreign country that shapes the psychic distance concept (Sousa and Bradley 2005). Psychic distance should be viewed at the individual level, as the countries are merely aggregations of individuals. Therefore, the psychic distance cannot be measured with factual indicators, such as publicly available statistics on economic development, level of education, language, and so forth, as Vahlne and Wiedersheim-Paul (1973) and Luostarinen (1979) did in their research.

Psychic distance is arguably the most fundamental constructs within the field of International business. Across the past decades, it has been cited as an important Predictor variable for:

• Entry mode choices – concerning both the degree of control (Brouthers & Brouthers, 2001, Chang & Rosenzweig, 2001, Kogut & Singh, 1988, Tihanyi, Griffith, & Russell, 2005), and the use of acquisitions versus Greenfield entries (Brouthers & Brouthers, 2000, Harzing, 2002, Padmanabhan & Cho, 1999, Shaver, 1998),

• International performance (Brouthers, 2002, Evans & Mavondo, 2002, Evans, Mavondo, & Bridson, 2008, O’Grady & Lane, 1996, Tihanyi, Griffith, & Russell, 2005),

• The degree of adaptation in foreign markets (Dow, 2001, Mueller, 1991, Sousa & Bradley, 2005), and

• A variety of other international phenomena (Boyacigiller, 1990, Gong, Shenkar, Luo, &  Nyaw, 2005, Manev & Stevenson, 2001).

The perception of an individual is an interpretation of reality and therefore is highly subjective. This means that psychic distance cannot be considered a construct that influences each person in a firm in the same way. Accordingly, the psychic distance concept should be applied at the individual level. To be assessed at the individual level, it must be derived from analyses of the scores of individuals.

In sum, psychic distance differentiates itself from a cultural distance, because it is much more detailed. It is a much stronger tool for assessing individuals’ perceptions of distance, but its complexity makes it difficult to attain reliable measures at the macro level.

2.5.2 Psychic Distance Indicators

If the concept of psychic distance itself seems vague, measurements of psychic distance have been even more so. Psychic distance is often referred to cultural distance and the two terms are often used interchangeably. A Research by Sousa and Bradley (2006) revealed that cultural distance and psychic distance are distinct concepts. Some of the indicators identified in analyzing psychic distance have been ‘differences in language, culture, business practices, education, and industrial development’ (Johanson and Vahlne 1977, p. 24). Since Johanson’s and Vahlne’s (1977) study, the psychic distance measure has evolved, and, more recently, Evans and Mavondo (2002, p. 517) argue that ‘the true explanatory power of psychic distance can be only fully revealed when the individual elements are fully measured. Dow and Karunaratna (2006) recently suggested that there are more than 50 possible indicators of psychic distance. These findings again highlight the importance of developing a comprehensive measure of psychic distance that includes a range of different indicators.

Therefore, it is necessary that the analyses are derived from scores of individual people. In their paper Sousa and Bradley’s (2005) capture the information that the 301 managers provided regarding their perceptions of differences between the home country and the foreign country. The respondents were asked to indicate the degree to which they perceived the home country as different from or similar to the foreign country. Previous research suggests that management experience has an influence on psychic distance (Dichtl, Koeglmayr, and Mueller 1990; Evans, Treadgold, and Mavondo 2000; Gripsrud 1990). In terms of applicability, psychic distance is clearly superior to cultural distance when looking at the individual aspect, because it can consider many more factors which may be relevant, such as the individual expatriate experience in dealing with a specific problem in a different country, language proficiency and even the personality of the expatriate.

However, when we turn our attention to what drives those perceptions, the exogenous level psychic distance stimuli, such as large differences in language, education, culture and religion amongst countries, are almost certainly going to play a major role.

Foremost, amongst these factors are differences in religions and dominant languages amongst countries. These two factors have been frequently cited within the psychic distance literature for over twenty years (Johanson & Wiedersheim-Paul, 1975); and for individuals who have not yet traveled abroad, they are arguably the most visible of the psychic distance stimuli.

2.5.3 Cultural distance and Psychic distance

Cultural distance refers to the differences between national cultural values and norms thus defined as the degree to which countries differ in their cultural values (Sousa & Bradley, 2008). Psychic distance and cultural distance are distinct concepts, and cultural distance influences psychic distance (Sousa & Bradley, 2008).

Cultural distance can be measured using instruments such as the Kogut & Singh’s (1988) composite index, which computes cultural distance as a Euclidean distance on the Hofstede cultural dimensions. Other assumptions about cultural distance concept are equally relevant to the context of expatriation: the idea negative causality and linearity. The first assumption implies that cultural differences (e.g., cultural distance), are the main cause of expatriation failure (e.g., low adjustment, low satisfaction, and high withdrawal intentions) and the second assumption implies that the higher the cultural distance, the greater the difficulties to adjust.

In other words, a clarification of what constitutes cultural difference is required in order to adequately measure the construct and assess its effects. Besides, it remains unclear whether every cultural gap is critical to expatriation. For instance, language differences were found to have a significant influence on international students adjustment while other differences seem to have trivial effects (Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al., 2005; Kraimer, Wayne & Jaworski, 2001; Selmer, 2006; Shaffer et al., 1999).

In contrast with cultural distance, psychic distance is defined as “the individual’s perception of the differences between the home country and the foreign country” (Sousa & Bradley, 2008: 470) and is measured in terms of the individual’s perceptions. Due to its perceptive nature, it is a subjective indication of those differences and is influenced by the individual’s previous experiences. In other words, the individuals’ perceptions of the differences between the home and the foreign country vary with their different personal experiences. Therefore, the psychic distance cannot be measured with factual indicators, such as publicly available statistics on economic development, level of education, language, and so forth.

Apparently, the wider the cultural difference between 2 countries, the lesser interaction is expected between individuals of those countries, and the less they are expected to know about each other. Real distance measures have not yet been included in the international student’s adjustment literature, and most studies have relied on a single measure – expatriate perceptions of the new culture, to assess home and host country distance (Bhaskar-Shrinivas et al. 2005).

Thus, the level of analysis is the key aspect in understanding the proposed distinction between the two constructs. To be assessed at the individual level, the psychic distance must be derived from analyses of individual scores, whereas cultural distance, which should be assessed at the cultural level, based on country means. Consequently, the use of cultural distance as a synonym and proxy of psychic distance needs to be revised, as does the level of analysis at which the concepts are assessed.

2.6 Related studies on personal characteristics

  2.6.1 Factors affecting Personal Characteristics and its specifications

The personal characteristics of foreign students to adjust in the host country is of utmost importance in the expatriate literature and have long been cited in various literature reviews. The personal characteristics of an individual are distinct and the various factors like personality, training, skills and various other factors can be used effectively to determine how the personal characteristics lead to their adjustment. The culture differences between the host and home country is a reflection of individual personal characteristics.

The ability to speak foreign languages, International experience and the number of previous assignments an expatriate has been on have been identified as factors that may help to decrease the distance between two cultures (Naumann 1992; Shaffer et al. 1999; Shenkar 2001). Yet empirical support for this has been mixed. This suggests that previous experience and language fluency will facilitate adjustment as expatriates learn from previous studies and utilize this knowledge on subsequent assignments or tasks. These personal characteristics factors can be widely be used to determine, which of the various personal characteristics factors best leads to the adjustment of the foreign students in the host country.

Pre-departure training has been identified as having a positive effect on expatriate adjustment (Black and Mendenhall 1990; Black et al. 1991; Caligiuri et al. 2001; Morris and Robie 2001). Black and Mendenhall (1990) argued that pre-departure training helped foreign students to form better perceptions. Brewster and Pickard (1994) found that previous international experience had no significant effect on an expatriate’s positive views of pre-departure training. Indeed, the research indicates that both expatriates with and without previous international experience view pre-departure training as a necessity (Brewster 1995).

Mol et al. (2005) conducted a quantitative review of the Big Five personality factors and found that they were as predictive of expatriate performance. However, Tan et al. (2005) contend that expatriates’ (foreign students) emotions should also be considered as an important individual factor in the international adjustment model. They claim that expatriates’ emotions play a major role in cross-cultural success, especially for individualists working in collectivistic culture for long periods of time. They further suggest that emotional demands caused by cultural differences in expatriate encounter impact negatively on their experience.

The social skills that an individual possess are also of wide importance, as this kind of skills helps foreign students to better network and make a good connection in the host country which makes their adjustment easier. This kind of skill is developed through previous experiences by communicating with various people from different parts of the world. A lot of people feel hesitated to talk to people who are unknown to them and don’t believe in socializing, but according to my analysis it can be of great importance to possessing this skill as it will help to build “Guanxi”, which is thus the very important factor in china (host country).

Chapter 3. Research hypotheses and model development

3.1 Learning Goal orientation and self-efficacy

Goal orientation relates to self-efficacy in sales environments and academic (Gong & Fan, 2006). Individuals with a strong goal orientation towards learning tend to exhibit higher levels of self-efficacy in a performance context compared to individuals with a weak learning goal orientation (Breland & Donovan, 2005).

Amid the cultural competence (Earley and Ang, 2003) obtaining process, sojourners frequently encounter troubles and misfortunes. A learning goal orientation is advantageous for the arrangement and upkeep of self-efficacy amid the procedure.

A learning orientation is described by a positive psychological handling of mishap encounters (Dweck, 1986; Dweck and Leggett, 1988), which is a noteworthy determinant of self-efficacy (Gist and Mitchell, 1992). In particular, a learning orientation invites the observation that mishaps demonstrate the deficiency of one’s endeavors or techniques and that input gives analytic data that can be utilized to enhance authority (Dweck, 1986; Dweck and Leggett, 1988). As a result, a learning orientation may lead to a lower level of experienced stress, frustration, and anxiety (Dweck & Leggett, 1988) and thus facilitate the formation and maintenance of self-efficacy during the cultural competence acquisition process (Bandura, 1986).

Previous goal orientation inquire about has tended to concentrate on the measure of exertion set forth by people with various levels of learning orientation. We trust it is critical to likewise consider how people with various levels of learning orientation coordinate that exertion. People with high learning orientation tend to seek after testing and troublesome undertaking substance and learning encounters. High-capacity people have the abilities to do well on the troublesome parts of errands and in this manner are required to experience abnormal amounts of self-efficacy. Low-capacity people, then again, can be required to do inadequately on complex assignments, which in this way prompts bring down levels of self-efficacy. In spite of the fact that they may put a lot of exertion into the errand, they don’t have the psychological assets to direct that exertion properly. Research about it has demonstrated that elevated amounts of learning orientation tend to cradle people from the negative effects of failure (Button et al., 1996).

Subsequently, when low-capacity individuals have abnormal amounts of learning orientation, their poor execution on more troublesome parts of the undertaking might not have a solid negative effect on their self-efficacy, yet it won’t expand it.

Within the sight of composed others, a learning goal orientation is probably going to expand sojourners’ self-efficacy in light of the fact that the learning orientation is a commitment to expanding one’s ability and the nearness of balanced others gives important learning models (Bandura, 1986; Dweck, 1986). Within the sight of ineffectively balanced others, a learning goal orientation is probably not going to decrease self-efficacy since it makes sojourners self-referenced (i.e., looking for self-change; Dweck, 1986, 2000).

Moreover, research has also shown that high levels of learning goal orientation tend to buffer individuals from the negative effects of failure, thereby helping to increase or maintain self-efficacy (But- ton et al., 1996; Ford, Smith, Weissbein, Gully, & Salas, 1998; Kozlowski et al., 2001; Phillips & Gully, 1997).  The learning goal orientation amongst the international students is a crucial factor for their self-efficacy as they will learn about the new culture and also will start believing in themselves and become confident to perform and adjust better in a new environment. This study, once again, provided evidence that learning goal orientation made the strongest contribution to international student’s self-efficacy in China.

Based on the above literature reviewed we propose:

H1: Learning Goal Orientation of international students in China is positively related to their Self-Efficacy.

3.2 Self-efficacy and Sociocultural adjustment

A man that moves globally touches base to an objective nation with an arrangement of possessing dispositions and trusts that will decide his or her imperviousness to the enticement to surrender and pull back that creates when issues emerge. This conviction of the individual that he or she can defeat the snags experienced is his or her self-efficacy. “The choice of regardless of whether to participate in critical thinking practices is reliant on an individual’s evaluation of his/her capacity to effectively adapt to the current issue” (1977a Bandura). In the course of the most recent two decades summed up self-efficacy was inspected as a helpful indicator of socio-cultural adjustment in a number of studies (Hampton, 2004; Luszczynska, Gutierrez-Dona, and Schwarzer, 2005 and so forth.).

From mid-1980s various analysts, for example, Church (1982), Kealey and Ruben (1983) and others recommended that personality variables may be closely related to individuals’ adjustment. However, the majority of those were criticized for their exploratory and enlightening nature. Quite a long while later a more observational approach of looking at how individual attributes related with individual’s conformity in culturally diverse setting was utilized. In 1989 a review by Kealey experimentally demonstrated that individual attributes can foresee level of sojourners” accomplishment in an outside nation. Leung and Berry (2001) also discovered that high self-efficacy in students was negatively correlated with their adjustment distress.

Harrison (1996) found that expatriates with high broad self-efficacy scores were likewise better balanced on the abroad assignments than the ones with low self-efficacy scores. High broad self- efficacy scores of first-year ethnic minority understudies were additionally observed to be decidedly related with people’s conformity distinctive unpleasant circumstances at school and contrarily related with mental pain (Chemers, Hu, and Garcia, 2001; Phinney and Haas, 2003; Solberg and Villarreal, 1997). Leung and Berry (2001) additionally found that high self-efficacy in understudies contrarily corresponded with their change trouble.

Chan (2006) led a review where the connections among self-efficacy and modification misery were analyzed on a specimen of 207 Chinese understudies in Hong Kong. Study results suggested that the effects of adjustment problems on adjustment distress could be mediated by self-efficacy. The results also demonstrated that self-efficacious students might develop success scenarios in which they see themselves as students capable of coping effectively with their adjustment problems.

Drawing on self-efficacy theory, it can be thought that self-efficacious students also have adjustment difficulties, but they perceive more challenge than threat or loss of control. On the other side, based on work of Chwalisz, Altmaier, & Russell (1992) we conclude that the lack of self-efficacy or low self-efficacy is associated with anxiety, worry, and self-doubts. Lent, Taveira, Sheu and Singley (2009) indicated that self-efficacy and environment help predict the academic adjustment and life satisfaction in students.

As we can see, generally a person with high general self-efficacy will be less likely to give up when he or she encounters adaptation problems. Therefore, the withdrawal will become less likely and positive adaptation outcome will become more likely.

Theoretically, self-efficacy is a vital motivational component for effective cross-culture adjustment (Earley and Ang, 2003), however observationally it has gotten little consideration (Shaffer and Harrison, 2001; Shaffer, Harrison, and Gilley, 1999). Specifically, researchers have once in a while conceptualized and analyzed self-efficacy as an area particular build in the socio-cultural adjustment literature.

Dark et al. (1991) theoretically recognized diverse aspects or spaces of adjustment, yet did not do as such for self-efficacy. A few researchers tend to concentrate on the more broad self-assurance (e.g., Kealey, 1996; Mendenhall and Oddou, 1985; Ronen, 1989), while others ambiguously characterize self-efficacy as trust in managing the full foreign environment (e.g., Black et al., 1991). In this review, we propose self-efficacy in connection to the scholarly area and social domain.

As indicated by Earley and Ang (2003), self-efficacy and objective levels are among the focal motivational components in socio-cultural adjustment. Sojourners with solid self-efficacies manage their passionate states viable; they endure as well as set objectives and desires to such an extent that they will proactively scan for new and helpful methodologies for moving toward the goals of intercultural experiences (Bandura, 1986; Earley and Ang, 2003).

Investigate proposes that self-efficacy is related to employment execution, explore profitability, adapting to stress, learning, and accomplishment in both scholarly and non-academic settings (Gist and Mitchell, 1992; Wood and Locke, 1987).

Gong and Fan’s (2006) study also provides initial evidence that the relationship between dispositional goal orientation and cross-cultural adjustment is mediated by domain self-efficacy.

Certain areas of self-efficacy, for example, work self-efficacy, are placed to add to expatriate cross-cultural adjustment (Gong and Fan, 2006). It is possible that the sociocultural adequacy space, identifying with intercultural capability, plays a role in expatriate adjustment.       Expatriates who connect effectively with host nationals and are interested in host social standards are probably going to be better adjusted (Bell and Harrison, 1996). Expatriates with more noteworthy work self-efficacy and sociocultural efficacy, are probably going to be better balanced at work, and experience more noteworthy satisfaction. Gong and Fan’s (2006) contemplate additionally gives starting proof that the connection between dispositional goal orientation and cross-cultural adjustment is intervened by domain self-efficacy.

In 1991 Black and Mendenhall in their work conceptualized cross-cultural adjustment handle in view of social learning hypothesis and accentuated that self-efficacy was a vital variable that impacts individual’s readiness to hold and to imitate a scholarly conduct.

In 1977 Bandura found that more elevated amounts of self-efficacy encouraged expatriates to continue at copying displayed conduct longer. He additionally called attention to that such individuals were all the more ready to attempt to mimic novel conduct. ).  Previously, many types of research had been done on self-efficacy and adjustment but they were done on the expatriate level and no research so far has been done on international students in China taking into account self-efficacy and adjustment, which opens up the area of this hypothesis to be tested and proved, so can be useful for future prospective by international students. This study, once again, provided evidence that self-efficacy makes a strong contribution to the sociocultural adjustment of the foreign students when they come to the host country China.

Based on the above literature reviewed we propose:

H2: Self-efficacy of international student’s in China is positively related to their Socio-cultural Adjustment.

As the arguments provided in this and previous paragraphs suggest, self-efficacy is closely connected with both learning goal orientation and sociocultural adjustment. Particularly, according to self-efficacy enhancing theory, better learning goal characteristic improves one’s general self-efficacy, and greater the self-efficacy ultimately improves the individual’s sociocultural well-being while adjusting to a local culture. A lot of research has been done in the past in which self-efficacy played the mediating role. The research paper by Luciane Albuquerque Sá de Souza, Ana Raquel Rosas Torres, Genário Alves Barbosa, Tiago Jessé Souza de Lima, Luana Elayne and Cunha de Souza, explained the role of Self-efficacy as a mediator of the relationship between subjective well-being and general health of military cadets,

And also another research by Tricia R Prodaniuk and Ronald C Plotnikoff explained the influence of self-efficacy and outcome expectations on the relationship between perceived environment and physical activity in the workplace.

Such research logic and solid literature support allow us to suggest a mediating role of general self-efficacy in learning goal orientation and sociocultural adjustment. Therefore, we propose:

H3: Self-efficacy mediates the relationship between learning goal orientation and sociocultural adjustment

3.3 Perceived culture distance

The idea of perceived culture distance has for some time been utilized for the business purpose just, however as we see the wide field of this idea, it is critical to utilize this idea for the adjustment of foreign students thinking about the individual’s discernment about the host nation.

The separation exists in an individual’s mind and relies on upon how he or she sees the world. In this way, it is the individual’s impression of the contrasts between the nation of origin and the outside nation that shapes the perceived culture distance concept (Sousa and Bradley 2005). Perceived culture distance ought to be seen at the individual level, as the nations are just totals of people.

In perceived culture distance is basically about what the individual thinks or has a perception about the host country. Higher the perceived distance in the minds of an individual between home and host country the weaker the relation will be between self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment because the greater the perceived distance more hard it will be for foreign students to have effective self-efficacy as they will not be so confident to perform any task or responsibility as their ability to believe in oneself would be diminished due to high perceived distance in their minds and also leading to low motivation and adjustment of the foreign students in China.

Also, we believe that persons who come from countries which are similar to China in a culture like Singapore, India, and Thailand etc. the culture distance in their minds will be low as their culture is similar to China and therefore the relationship between self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment will be high. Whereas, the people from Europe and America who differ a lot in their culture from China will have high culture distance and therefore the relation between self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment will be low due to a high level of perceived culture distance. The study, once again, provided evidence that perceived culture distance weakens the relation between the self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment of the foreign students when they come to the host country China.

Based on the above literature reviewed we propose:

H4: Perceived culture distance of the international student’s in China moderates the relation between self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment in a way that when perceived culture distance is greater, the relationship between self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment is weakened.

3.4 Learning Goal Orientation and Psychological adjustment

Individuals with learning goal orientations are diverted with growing their power levels (Dweck and Leggett, 1988). Learning is viewed as strategies for growing solitary competency and is naturally satisfying. Behaviorally, individuals with learning goal orientations search for challenges that grow the improvement of competency. The occasion of troubles banners the insufficiency of current undertaking procedure or effort.

As Psychological adjustment is of incredible fundamental significance in the international student’s literature, along these lines we incorporate into the adjustment model. Psychological adjustment alludes to people’s subjective prosperity or fulfillment in the host nation or new circumstance (Selmer, 2005; Takeuchi, Wang, and Marinova, 2005). The factors that upgrade the people’s cognitions, emotions and personal characteristics have been related to psychological adjustment.

Church in his research explained adjustment as “the removal of positive reinforcements and the presentation of aversive stimuli” (Church, 1982). Berry described adjustment as “a significant life event that involves a number of life changes” (Berry, 2006).

Present day researchers frequently see an effective cross-cultural psychological adjustment, to some extent, as a decrease in the common anxiety that a foreign student feels after entering another culture (Aycan, 1997; Berry, 1980). A few researchers have recommended that psychological adjustment is best comprehended inside an anxiety and adapting system (Selmer, 1999b).

Leong (2007) suggested that in psychological adjustment, the complement is on various depressive sentiments experienced in cultural assimilation, in this way the procedure of psychological adjustment is associated with one’s passionate working, which as per past research might be anticipated by the key the measure of social support and the level of ethnic-social upkeep which develops through learning about the new cultural environment.

Boyer and Sedlacek (1988) in their review of universal studies test found that “inclination sure, decided, and autonomous, and having another person to whom to hand over emergency were critical determinants of adjustment to academic demands and attainment of academic success” (p.220).

Black and Gregersen characterized Psychological adjustment as “the degree of a sojourner’s psychological comfort with various aspects of a host country” (Black and Gergersen, 1991). It was characterized as a “learning process amid which sojourners take in the abilities, standards, and behaviors appropriate to the new condition with a specific end goal to be viable” (Brislin, Landis, and Brandt, 1983). Paz

This study, once again, provided evidence that learning goal orientation made the strongest contribution to foreign student’s psychological adjustment.

Based on the above literature reviewed we propose:

H5: Learning goal orientation is positively related to Psychological Adjustment.

3.5 Learning Goal Orientation and Sociocultural adjustment

People with learning goal orientations are distracted with expanding their authority levels (Dweck and Leggett, 1988). Learning is seen as methods for expanding singular competency and is characteristically fulfilling. Behaviorally, people with learning goal orientations look for difficulties that expand the development of competency. The event of difficulties flags the inadequacy of current undertaking technique or exertion.

Notwithstanding challenges, people with learning goal orientations have a tendency to raise endeavors or scan for more viable systems. Goal orientation hypothesis has suggestions for socio-cultural adjustment. People with a learning goal orientation may embrace challenging overseas learning opportunities.

Despite challenges in scholastic interest, people with learning goal orientations will take part in viable self-control, scanning for more successful learning procedures, and checking progress (Dweck and Leggett, 1988). The unavoidable misfortunes in the culturally diverse learning procedure are probably not going to decrease post-disappointment anticipation of scholarly achievement (Colquitt and Simmering, 1998). Learning goal oriented people see the meeting of cross-cultural academic challenges through exertion as a wonderful dominance experience, and along these lines indicate constancy in their scholarly interest (Dweck and Leggett, 1988).

People with learning goal orientations are probably going to grasp chances to communicate with host nationals, the very open doors that will increase their socio-cultural competency (Klineberg and Hull, 1979). They are probably going to effectively look for learning and abilities for cooperation in the host nation, and may actually seek practice.

Different reviews propose that learning goal orientations lead to prompt positive results and execution stay away from goal orientation are maladaptive in sales settings (VandeWalle, 1997). As performance goal orientation is more towards the completion phase of an individual, so when the new foreign students arrive in China, this kind of goal orientation will not help in their adjustment either socially or psychology because the foreign students are not aware of the local culture and in order to understand and adjust better they need to learn and then apply those learning.

Sojourners with learning goal orientations are additionally liable to effectively contact neighborhood nationals both inside and outside the classroom after their entries. They may observe local nationals’ behaviors by attending social gatherings with local nationals (Bandura, 1977). They may effectively modify their learning procedures, and screen their advance. Specifically, when they stand up to disappointment in social interactions, they see it as a sign of the deficiency of their collaboration levels or learning systems, and will associate more with local nationals or change their learning procedures to take in more about fitting practices that prompt social effectiveness and acceptance (Goetz and Dweck, 1980).

As of late, goal orientation and self-efficacy have developed as precursors of conformity in workers and students (e.g., Gong and Fan, 2006; Porath and Bateman, 2006). Diverse work alteration is especially pertinent for gauging foreign student’s accomplishment, as it manages the area of most worry to their international student’s, i.e., the foreigner’s student’s adjustment to their new academic culture (Black and Gregersen, 1991). Previous research also suggests that an employee’s goal orientation positively predicts job satisfaction (Farr, Hoftnann, & Ringenbach, 1993). Job satisfaction is another facet of work-related adjustment. The absence of Job satisfaction is an essential determinant of expatriate aim to quit assignment and same can be true for academic-related adjustment (Shaffer and Harrison, 1998).

Gong and Fan (2006) acquainted goal orientation to the cross-cultural adjustment literature by a longitudinal study amongst sojourning students. They found an immediate positive connection between learning goal orientation with work and social adjustment. But so far no research has been done which has taken into account learning goal orientation and all the three factors under sociocultural adjustment i.e. academic, general, interaction adjustment of international student’s in China. This study will help to provide evidence that learning goal orientation made a contribution to the socio-cultural adjustment of the foreign students in the host country China.

Based on the above literature reviewed we propose:

H6: Learning goal orientation is positively related to Socio-cultural Adjustment for the international students in China.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psychological Adjustment

H5 (+)

Perceived Culture Distance

                                                                                             

                                                                                                               H4   (-)

H3

Self-efficacy

Learning Goal Orientation

Sociocultural Adjustment

H1

 (+)                                            H2 (+)

 H6 (+)

Picture 1. Research framework

Chapter 4. Research Methodology

To empirically investigate the influence of learning goal orientation, perceived culture distance, self-efficacy and personal characteristics on the foreign student’s sociocultural and psychological adjustment in the host country (China). This study will investigate the extent to which these factors of the home country affect the international student’s adjustments in the host country (China). The study will first rely on previous literature on this topic (online resources, dissertations, articles, books, case studies, theses).

A survey and a questionnaire will be developed to measure the extent of influence of various factors on the foreign student’s sociocultural and psychological adjustment in the host country (China). The survey and the questionnaire will be distributed to the foreign students who have come to china to study, and the results will be treated by a regression model.

4.1 Research Design

We used a survey to empirically test our hypotheses. Two rounds of the questionnaire were created. There was a 2 weeks’ time period between the rounds to exclude bias answers. The first round assessed Culture distance, Psychic distance, self-efficacy, personality, socio-cultural and psychological adjustment, learning goal orientation and performance goal orientation and as well as 4 other variables used in for this research work. Cross-culture learning and other 2 variables that were not used for this research work were assessed in the second round. In total there were 60 questions in the first round and 15 questions in the second round of survey. Participants were offered a reward of 40 RMB each on their cell phone account.

4.2 Data collection

In order to test our hypotheses, we collected survey data from 125 international students from more than 36 nationalities studying in China. Data was collected from different universities and business schools. All participants were full-time Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctor’s degree students or were enrolled for language courses at their universities. Questionnaire distribution yield a response rate of 85%. Participants were majoring in international business, architecture, management, finance, economics, biomedical engineering and Chinese language studies. The participants were asked to fill out two rounds of the questionnaire that in total contained around 85 question. The period for the collection of data was approximately equal to 30 days. 40% of participants were male and 60% female. The average age was equal to 23 years. The average time in China was equal to 12 months. For other specific sample descriptive statistics please refer to the next chapter.

4.3 Scales

The participant was offered to fill out two rounds of the questionnaire. Most variables were measured using a 5-point Likert scale. Learning and performance goal orientation, socio-cultural and psychological adjustment, self-efficacy, culture distance, psychic distance and, as well as our control variables that included age, gender, time in China and university Degree, were measured in the first round, whereas cross-culture learning, performance and other variables were conducted in the second round of questionnaire survey.

4.3.1 Goal orientation

Learning goal and performance goal orientation were measured using the goal orientation scale developed by Button, Mathieu, and Zajac (1996). Goal orientation measure included 14 questions. This scale has been widely used in the applied psychology literature and has well-established validity and reliability (e.g., Ford, Smith, Weissbein, Gully, & Salas, 1998). A Higher value indicates higher learning or performance goal orientation.  Measurements were conducted on 5 points Likert scale. Participants were offered to rate statements such as “I like to be fairly confident that I can successfully perform a task before I attempt it’, “Your performance on most tasks or jobs increases the amount of effort you put into them”, “The opportunity to do challenging work is important to me” etc. with 1 indicating strong disagree and 5 indicating strong agree.  Reliability analysis showed Cronbach’s Alpha of 0.78 for learning goal orientation and 0.7 for performance goal orientation. All items measuring goal orientation can be found in Table 4.

4.3.2 Self-efficacy

We used a scale for self-efficacy assessment from Burger K, Samuel R. The Role of Perceived Stress and Self-Efficacy in Young People’s Life Satisfaction. Self-efficacy section included 4 questions. Measurements were conducted on 5 points Likert scale. Participants were offered to rate statements such as “When a problem arises, I can always find a solution by my own efforts’’, “I am confident that I can cope with difficult challenges because I can trust my abilities’’ etc. with 1 indicating strong disagreement and 5 indicating strong agreement. Reliability analysis showed Cronbach’s Alpha of 0.85. All items measuring self-efficacy can be found in Table 4.

4.3.3 Sociocultural and Psychological adjustment

Sociocultural adjustment is measured by adopting Black and Stephens’ (1989) 14-item scale with slight modification. As the most often tested and utilized measurement to assess expatriate’s sociocultural adjustment, it is designed to measure three dimensions: general adjustment (sample item: “living conditions in general”), interaction adjustment (sample item: “interacting with host nationals on a day-to-day basis”), and study adjustment (sample item: “specific education system”). The survey adjusted 13 questions to our student sample and conducted data collection on the five-point Likert-type scale. Participants were offered to rate statements such as “Interacting with Chinese on day-to-day basis, “Interacting with your professor or instructors in academic activities’’ etc. and the respondents indicate how well adjusted they are to their respective host location on a scale ranging from 1 (“very unadjusted”) to 5 (“completely adjusted”). Reliability analysis showed Cronbach’s Alpha of 0.82 for sociocultural adjustment. All items measuring sociocultural adjustment can be found in Table 5.

Psychological adjustment assessment instrument was based upon the short version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12; Goldberg, 1972). We drew out 7 questions to our student sample and conducted the collection of data on the five-point Likert-type scale. This kind of questionnaire has been widely used as a measurement of subjective well-being (Selmer, 1999b). Containing a number of questions concerning how people have been feeling recently, it includes sleeping difficulties, feelings of unhappiness, and respondents’ ability to enjoy daily experiences. Participants were asked questions such as “Have you recently felt that you are playing a useful part in things?, “Have you recently been feeling unhappy and repressed? ‘’ etc. with 1 indicating that individual doesn’t experience mentioned psychological state at all and 5 indicating a high frequency of it. Reliability analysis showed Cronbach’s Alpha of 0.76. All items measuring psychological adjustment can be found in Table 5.

4.3.4 Perceived culture distance

Perceived culture distance was measured using the 8-item cultural novelty scale used by Black and Stephens (1989). Ten questions most relevant to student sample were selected for the research purpose.  Respondents were asked to indicate the extent of similarity between the home and host countries regarding a number of aspects on a 5-point. Likert-type scale. Participants were offered to rate these statements from 1 to 5 with 1 indicating Not similar at all to 5 indicating very similar. Measurements included assessment of the perceived culture distance between the home and host country and used statements like “People’s way of thinking’, communication system’, available quality of food” etc. The reliability analysis showed Cronbach’s Alpha of 0.77.  All items measuring culture distance can be found in Table 7.

4.3.5. Other basic information

In the first round of questioner, besides answering testing questions, participants also were required to provide basic information regarding their nationality, gender, age, education level, the number of months spent abroad and a number of moths spent in China, language ability, etc.

All the answers were transferred into numbers in order to complete data analysis.  All items from both rounds of the survey can be found in the appendix.

Table 3. Variables reliability

Variable name Type Source  Alpha
Learning goal orientation Independent Button, Mathieu, and Zajac (1996) 0.78
Self-efficacy Mediator Burger K, Samuel R. 0.85
Sociocultural Adjustment Dependent Black and Stephens’ (1989) 0.82
Psychological adjustment Dependent Goldberg (1972) 0.76
Perceived culture distance Moderator Black and Stephens (1989). N/A
Age Control Demographic Information N/A
Gender Control Demographic Information N/A
Time in China Control Demographic Information N/A
Degree program Control Demographic Information N/A
Nationality Control Demographic N/A

4.4 Data analysis results

A total of 125 valid questionnaires were collected from the international students.  To test research hypothesis and model we analyzed the received data using IBM SPSS statistics program (version 23). In the first step of analysis, we conducted a reliability check to make sure all the variables were suitable for future analysis. After that, we conducted correlation testing and applied to linear regression analysis to examine our hypotheses. We used SPPS to assess the reliability of each variable.

Table 4. Descriptive Statistics and Interco relations Matrix of the Study Variables

Variables Mean Std. Deviation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1.Learning Goal Orientation 4.02 0.45
2.Self-efficacy 3.95 0.64 0.35**
3.Sociocultural Adjustment 3.37 0.56 0.08 0.22**
4.Psycho-cultural Adjustment 3.70 0.62 0.18* 0.08 0.25**
5.Perceived Cultural Distance 2.04 0.58 -0.07 0.07 0.07 0.10
6.Gender 1.49 0.50 0.16 0.01 0.08 0.22* 0.21*
7.age 1.83 0.63 0.10 -0.08 -0.09 0.15 0.02 0.22*
8.Martial Status 1.71 1.22 0.06 0.02 -0.10 0.03 0.07 0.04 0.08
9.Education 1.89 0.47 0.17 -0.08 -0.11 0.04 -0.04 0.10 0.39** 0.18**
10. Financial Support 3.63 2.15 -0.09 -0.01 0.05 0.14 0.03 0.15 0.05 -0.06 -0.13

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

*.Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

Table 5. The regression analysis of direct effect

Variables Self-Efficacy Sociocultural Adjustment Psycho-Cultural Adjustment
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6
Control Variables    
Gender 0.03 -0.05 0.12 0.10 0.23* 0.20+
Age -0.06 -0.07** -0.07 -0.07 0.11 0.11
Martial Status 0.02 0.01 -0.04 -0.04 0.01 0.01
Education -0.09 -0.16 -0.08 -0.09 -0.02 -0.05
Financial Support 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.03 0.03
Independent Variables    
Learning Goal Orientation 0.54***     0.12 0.22+
R2 0.01   0.15 0.03     0.04     0.07 0.10
∆R2 0.01 0.14*** 0.03     0.01     0.07 0.02+
F 0.26 3.55*** 0.81     0.86     1.83 2.08

* p < .05. ** p < .01.*** p < .001

Hypothesis 1 suggested positive relations between international students’ learning goal orientation and their self-efficacy. Data testing results showed p<0.005, therefore this hypothesis is also supported.

Hypothesis 2 suggested that learning goal orientation is positively related to individual’s sociocultural adjustment in the host country. Linear regression analysis showed p<0.005, proving a significant positive correlation between research variables. Therefore, Hypothesis 2 is supported.

Hypothesis 5 suggested a positive relation between learning goal orientation and international students’ psychological adjustment in China. Data testing results yield p < .05, that supports hypothesis 5 but partially, we can see from the analysis as the p-value is less than 0.5 the relation is positively related but not so strongly.

Table 3. The regression analysis of mediation effect

Variables Self-Efficacy Sociocultural Adjustment
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6
 Control Variables
Gender 0.03 -0.05 0.12 0.10 0.12 0.11
Age -0.06 -0.07** -0.07 -0.07 -0.06 -0.06
Martial Status 0.02 0.01 -0.04 -0.04 -0.04 -0.04
Education -0.09 -0.16 -0.08 -0.09 -0.06 -0.07
Financial Support 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.01
 Independent Variables
Learning Goal Orientation 0.54***   0.12 0.02
 Mediator
Self-Efficacy 0.18* 0.18*
R2 0.01   0.15 0.03     0.04 0.08 0.08
∆R2 0.01 0.14*** 0.03     0.01 0.05 0.04+
F 0.26 3.55*** 0.81     0.86 1.62 1.38

* p < .05. ** p < .01.*** p < .001

Based on literature review we proposed Hypothesis 3 that suggested a mediation role of self-efficacy in the relationship between learning goal orientation and sociocultural adjustment. Data testing results also indicate a mediation role of self-efficacy in learning goal orientation and sociocultural adjustment. Therefore, hypothesis 3 is positively supported.

Table 4. The regression analysis of moderation effect

Variables Sociocultural Adjustment
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Control Variables
Gender 0.12 0.12 0.13
Age -0.07 -0.06 -0.07
Martial Status -0.04 -0.04 -0.04
Education -0.08 -0.06 -0.02
Financial Support 0.00 0.00 0.01
Independent Variables
Self-Efficacy 0.18* 0.12
Moderator
Perceived Cultural Distance 0.04
Interaction
SelfEfxPCD -0.26+
R2 0.03 0.08 0.10
∆R2 0.03 0.04* 0.03+
F 0.81 1.62 1.68

* p < .05. ** p < .01.*** p < .001

In Hypothesis 4 we proposed a negative moderation impact of perceived culture distance in relations between self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment. Data analysis results with β= -0.26 and p=0.322 showed that there are no significant relations between proposed variables, therefore hypothesis 5 was not supported.

Picture 2. Moderation effect

As we can see five out of seven hypotheses were completely supported and one hypothesis was partially supported by data analysis. The results will be discussed in the next chapter.

Chapter 5. Discussion

5.1. Research findings discussion

This study highlighted the concept goal orientation to the field of cross-cultural adjustment. The goal orientation factor structure holds up credibly well in a sample of diverse international students, and therefore rather provide strong evidence of the generalizability of Button et al. (1996) goal orientation scale.

As we anticipated, most of our research hypotheses were supported by data analysis results. Analysis results for hypothesis 1 found that learning orientation was positively related with self-efficacy. A commentator proposed that faith in one’s ability to learn (i.e., learning self-efficacy) may have created learning orientation, which is reliable with the thought that self-efficacy impacts goal properties (Bandura, 1997) and that goal orientation is at last about the way of the objectives one set for learning and performance (Seijts, Latham, Tasa, and Latham, 2004). Nonetheless, we question this clarification can represent our discoveries, for a few reasons. To begin with, our conceptualization, based on goal orientation theory, is that learning orientation is helpful for the improvement and support of self-efficacy in the face of difficulties during the cultural competence acquisition process. We found out that when foreign student’s come to the host country China they should possess learning orientation as it will help them to believe in oneself and make them confident in the task they perform which will, therefore, enhance their self-efficacy in the face of problems during the phase of adjustment in the new country. Whereas, performance goal orientation had insignificant relation with self-efficacy, which means that foreign student’s if they come to China with performance goal orientated mindset, then the individual’s ability to believe in oneself will have no effect and it may be hard for the students to adjust in this new environment also.

Same logics could apply to testing results to Hypothesis 2. Data analysis showed that foreign students with higher level of self-efficacy experienced a higher level of sociocultural adjustment. It shows the importance of self-efficacy for sociocultural adjustment and specifically, the role played by domain self-efficacy, in the study and sociocultural competence. International student’s self-efficacy was positively related to academic, interaction and general adjustment, respectively.

In addition, there was initial evidence that the relationship between learning orientation and adjustment was mediated by self-efficacy. When a foreign student’s come to the host country China and he is low in self-efficacy then it will be hard for him to adjust to the new environment. As, the ability to believe in oneself will be low which means that person will not be motivated to do or perform effectively in the new environment, therefore leading to low adjustment and on the other hand if the person has high self-efficacy he will be highly motivated to perform effectively leading to successful adjustment of the foreign student’s in the new host country China.

Data testing for hypothesis 3 supported the idea that self-efficacy not only directly connected with international students’ sociocultural adjustment but also played a mediation role in the relationship between learning goal orientation and sociocultural adjustment for international student’s in China. Data analysis results partially supported this hypothesis indicating a partial mediation role of self-efficacy in the relationship mentioned above. As cultural adjustment is a very complex process, quite possibly there is a number of other variables that could along with self-efficacy to have a mediation effect in its relation to sociocultural adjustment.

Hypothesis 4 suggested that perceived culture distance negatively moderates the relation between self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment of international students in China. Data analysis showed that higher the perceived culture distance in the minds of an individual the more difficult it will be for them to believe in themselves and therefore more difficult will be the adjustment for these international students in China and vice-versa.

Data testing for hypothesis 5 supported the idea that learning goal orientation is positively related to psychological adjustment. But the p-value for this relation was not too much, so we could say that learning goal orientation is slightly positively related to the psychological adjustment of international student’s in China. With the result of this hypothesis we can say that learning goal orientation method during their phase of adaptation takes time because even if person is willing to learn the psychological state of mind which includes individuals emotions, cognitions, and subjective well-being are facts which cannot be adjusted easily, so the impact of learning goal orientation is slightly positive towards psychological adjustment.

Furthermore, in hypothesis 6, this study indicated that learning goal orientation didn’t have direct relationship with sociocultural adjustment of the international students in China, rather it was found that it had a indirect relation as learning goal orientation is positively related to self-efficacy which is positively related to sociocultural adjustment, on the basis of this relation we can say that which means it enhances the academic, general and interaction adjustment in a sample of international students.

The findings build on previous research attesting to the adaptive nature of learning goal orientation (Porath& Bateman, 2006), and reveals its positive contribution to adjustment outcomes in a new context: expatriate work-related adjustment. It is suggested that selecting individuals with a learning goal orientation for expatriate postings may be a useful strategy to ensure successful work adjustment. There has no research been done taking into the account of learning goal orientation characteristics of international students for their sociocultural adjustment, therefore this research has found out a positive relation between the 2 variables, and this can help international students in their adaption process in the new host country China.

We found no significant relationship between performance orientation and any facet of adjustment and no significant relationship between performance orientation and self-efficacy. Some of the scholars recently distinguished between proving and avoiding performance orientations and suggested that whereas the avoiding performance orientation is dysfunctional, the proving performance orientation may not be (e.g., Day, Yeo, & Radosevich, 2003; VandeWalle et al., 2001).

Overall, we found that learning orientation is positively related to self-efficacy. The above findings seem to support the argument that trait-learning orientation is conducive to cross-cultural adjustment which includes both sociocultural and psychological adjustment. One possible mechanism for the effects of learning orientation is through providing sojourners with a strong motivational basis (e.g., self-efficacy) for successful cross-cultural adjustment (Earley & Ang, 2003)

5.2 Research findings implications

Our results might generalize to international students in China. The goal orientation theory has been applied to employees in business organizations and has received supportive evidence (e.g., Vande- Walle, Brown, Cron, & Slocum, 1999), but for international students the goal orientation theory hadn’t been tested, so after this research the results can be implied to the foreign students in China.

Data analysis results reviled how learning goal orientation for the international students in the host country with the strength of students’ self-efficacy and their sociocultural and psychological adjustment relation. Based on our findings there are two main suggestions that universities’ or companies’ cultural adaptation programs may consider. Firstly, as our hypothesis 3 wasn’t supported, the fact that the perceived culture distance in the minds of the individual does not always facilitate individuals’ self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment should be taken into account and the individuals should lower the perceived distance in their minds so as to increase their self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment in the host country China.

Secondly, the international students have tasks to accomplish in environments that are different from their original ones. Accomplishing these tasks may require a learning orientation because the tasks and the environments where they complete the tasks are new. The foreign students in China when they come to study must adapt the learning goal orientation methodology in order to better learn and adapt to the new situation, this research also revealed that people with more performance goal orientation methodology will have a negative effect on adjustment and can lead to the repatriation of the foreign students. They must interact more with host nationals to learn more about the local culture. As Earley and Ang (2003) suggest, “a person adjusting to a foreign culture is very much like a student or learner trying to grapple with new and unfamiliar situations or concepts” (p. 284).

5.3 Direction for future research

In our research, we discovered some interesting findings that we believe require further examination. Firstly, our data exhibited a mediation role of self-efficacy in the relation between learning goal orientation and sociocultural adjustment that makes it important to understand and examine what other variables could mediate such relationship.

Secondly, how we can use performance goal orientation in the successful adjustment of the international students. Thirdly, the data exhibited a moderating relation of perceived culture distance with self-efficacy and sociocultural adjustment, which makes it important to understand what other moderating variables could moderate the relation between them for the international students. Fourthly, unlike the majority of cultural adaptation research, we argue that performance goal orientation is not necessarily connected with all facets of the cross-cultural adaptation process. Particularly, in our research we didn’t find any relation between performance goal orientation and any adjustment process, therefore more research needs to be done on how performance goal orientation affects the different kinds of the adjustment process. As nowadays adaptation to other cultures remains a very important topic in management science, due to the increase in the number of foreign students going abroad to study, we believe the reasons of such impacts in both cases of goal orientation along with self-efficacy in the target country as well as its mechanisms should be further examined.

5.4 Study limitations

Although all research measurements passed reliability check and the once which didn’t we removed them from our thesis model. We believe that there were few limitations in our study. Firstly, time and resource could have been a limitation to this study. Secondly, some of the research variables were self-reported, that makes the measures rather subjective. Thirdly, although the number of questionnaire respondents by international students was big enough for research purposes, but still we believe that this sample of 123 people cannot represent all the international students in china, therefore we believe the sample could be increased in order to obtain even more clear results. Fourthly, there can various types of self-efficacy in the adjustment process of the international student, so, therefore, we believe that general self-efficacy cannot represent all different facets of self-efficacy.

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APPENDIX I

 

Learning goal orientation and Performance goal orientation (adapted from Scott B. Button and John E. Mathieu)

Please carefully read the statements below and circle the number that reflects your true judgment.

Learning Goal Orientation:

1. The opportunity to do challenging work is important to me.

2. When I fail to complete a difficult task, I plan to try harder the next time I work on it.

3. I prefer to work on tasks that force me to learn new things.

4. I try hard to improve on my past performance.

5. The opportunity to extend the range of my abilities is important to me.

6. When I have difficulty solving a problem, I enjoy trying different approaches to see which one will work.

7. Your performance on most tasks or jobs increases the amount of effort you put into them.

Performance Goal Orientation:

1. I prefer to do things that I can do well rather than things that I do poorly.

2. The things I enjoy the most are the things I do the best.

3. The opinions others have about how well I can do certain things are important to me.

4. I like to be fairly confident that I can successfully perform a task before I attempt it.

5. I like to work on tasks that I have done well on in the past.

6. I feel smart when I can do something better than most other people.

7. Even if I know that I did a good job on something, I’m satisfied only if others recognize my accomplishments.

Self-efficacy (adopted from Burger K, Samuel R.)

When are you studying/living in foreign countries, to what extent do you agree with following statements?

1. When a problem arises, I can always find a solution by my own efforts.

2. Whatever happens, I will handle any difficult situation

3. I am confident that I can cope with difficult challenges because I can trust my abilities.

4. I can find a solution to any problem

Perceived cultural distance (adopted from Black and Stephens, 1989)

To what extent do you think that your home country is similar to China regarding each of the following statements?

1. Religions and rituals

2. Values.

3. Norms.

4. Ways of study.

5. People’s way of thinking

6. Communication System

7. Education facilities and opportunities

8. Available quality of food

9. Climate

10. Language

Sociocultural Adjustment (adopted from Ward, C., & Kennedy, A., 1999)

Indicate how well do you think yourself to be adjusted to the respective host location (china) regarding each of the following statement?

1) Socializing with Chinese

2) Interacting with Chinese on day-to-day basis

3) Interacting with Chinese outside the University

4) Speaking in Chinese

5) Living conditions

6) Housing conditions

7) Food

8) Cost of living

9) Entertainment / Recreation facilities and opportunities

10) Your University work

11) Interacting with your professor or instructors in academic activities

12) Your Chinese professor’s teaching style

13) Communication and work with your supervisor

Psychological Adjustment (adopted from Goldberg, 1972)

Indicate how well do you think yourself to be adjusted to the respective host location (china) regarding each of the following statement?

1. Have you recently felt you couldn’t overcome your difficulties?

2. Have you recently been feeling unhappy and repressed?

3) Have you recently felt that you are playing a useful part in things?

4) Have you been losing confidence in yourself?

5) Have you recently lost much sleep over worries?

6) Have you recently been thinking of yourself as a worthless person?

7) Have you recently been feeling happy all things considered?

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