Authors: Liping Fu and Peerayuth Charoensukmongkol

Research Article

Year: 2021, Volume 21 Number 3

Pages: 180 – 195


This research examines the benefits of host language proficiency of Chinese expatriates working in Thailand. Host language proficiency is conceptualized in terms of linguistic and communicative competence. Anchored on social identity theory, this study tests whether the host language proficiency of Chinese expatriates affects their work engagement and to what extent host country nationals (HCN) support plays a mediating role. Survey data were collected from 15 Chinese subsidiaries in Thailand. In total, 413 valid questionnaires were gathered. Partial least square structural equation modeling was used for data analysis. The results not only found a direct positive association between host language proficiency and work engagement but also confirmed that the HCN support partially mediated the linkage of host language proficiency and work engagement. The finding of this study adds a greater understanding of how and why host language proficiency can exert a beneficial influence on the work engagement of Chinese expatriates in Thailand. Based on the result, relevant practical implications are provided. 

Keywords: expatriate, foreign language, social identity, social support, work engagement