Optimizing the Performance of Hong Kong Expatriate Construction Professionals in Mainland China via a Cross-cultural Stress Management Study

Project: Research

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Closer economic relationships between Hong Kong (HK) and Mainland China (ML) havedeveloped since 2004. It is a common phenomenon for HK expatriate constructionprofessionals (HKExCPs) extending their work to the Mainland. In recent years, there isa rapidly increasing for HK construction professionals ‘Moving North’ to work in ML(around 28.5% are working in ML, Census & Stat. Dep’t [CSD] 2011b). HK people havealtered/adopted western cultural values (e.g., team spirit, prudence, resistance), whileChinese people still maintain Chinese social values involving power distance, moderation,protecting ‘face’, emphasizing relationships, etc. Although the ML market has beenopened to outsiders for over 10 years, it is still very difficult for HKExCPs to work in aplace with different cultural values (China), and thus they are subject to a great deal ofcultural stress while working on complicated construction projects. The challengesHKExCPs face are the competitive environment in ML (e.g., socialism, social marketeconomics, and bureaucracy within a hierarchical authority), demanding constructionprojects (mega project size, complicated design, and tight time frame), and complexsocial networking (home-work conflict, language barriers, suboptimal living standards,and difficulty in cooperating with local workers). It causes HKExCPs in ML with greatlevel of stress and high expatriate failure rate (CSD 2011b; Leung et al. 2010a; Lorange2003) in the industry. These challenges have had significant influences on theperformance of HKExCPs in ML and hence on the profitability of constructioncompanies.Clinical studies show that a reasonable level of stress can stimulate an individual’soutput; however, excessive stress may seriously worsen performance. The proposedresearch thus aims to optimize the performance of HKExCPs in the competitive MLconstruction market through proactive Cross-cultural Stress Management (CCSM). Theobjectives are (1) to update previous findings on cross-cultural values and stress; (2) toidentify stress-related components and performance indicators of HKExCPs; (3) toestablish the relationships between cultural values, stressors, stress, coping behaviours,and performance of HKExCPs; (4) to develop an integrated Cross-cultural StressManagement (CCSM) structural equation model for HKExCPs; (5) to verify the modelthrough longitudinal case studies; and (6) to propose CCSM guidelines for optimizingthe practical performance of HKExCPs in ML. It is envisaged that our findings will helpin devising a proactive Individual CCSM model for HKExCPs and that it will becontinued to develop an integrated proactive Organizational CCSM model for HKExCPsin the huge Mainland market and other Asia countries.


Project number9042180
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1622/06/20

    Research areas

  • Cross-cultural Value,Construction Professionals,Coping Behavior,Expatriate,