Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: International Faculty Members in Saudi Arabia


Along with many other countries, Saudi Arabia has recently experienced increased cultural diversity in the workplace. Among a total estimated population of 30 million inhabitants, the kingdom currently has approximately 10 million immigrants living within its borders. To replenish its workforce, Saudi Arabia welcomes legal immigrants and temporary residents from other countries seeking educational and employment opportunities. As a result of this open immigration policy, more than 60% of the national workforce is now composed of non-Saudis. Researchers emphasized that foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, along with their families, often experience difficulty adapting to established cultural practices. Such cultural challenges are often seen in higher education, one of the most diverse sectors in the economy. This study examined the cultural adjustment experiences of international faculty members working at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. Relationships between selected demographic characteristics and the degree of cultural adjustment were explored. The study also examined the impact of cultural adjustment on job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The sample size of the study which used an online survey was 110. The quantitative data results of this study showed that international faculty members had a moderate level of job satisfaction, organizational commitment and cultural adjustment. The study also found that female participants had a higher level of cultural adjustment than male participants. The qualitative data results discussed the major themes that were emerged from participants’ responses regarding the open-ended questions. Major themes included: initial challenges, positive experiences, negative experiences, family concerns, and adjustment difficulties

Author Information
Wala Almostadi, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
Hisako Matsuo, Saint Louis University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACSS2019
Stream: Globalization and Internationalization

This paper is part of the ACSS2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon