n South African Computer Journal - The expatriate information flow model : towards understanding Internet usage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia : research article




Expatriate adjustment research has identified a number of challenges that expatriates experience when adjusting to the host country. These include spousal influence, cultural training/understanding, fluency in the host language and the personality or emotional readiness of the expatriate. These challenges are amplified when considered in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), which has large cultural distance when compared to the average Western culture and therefore provides a setting for an interesting study. This paper describes how the "degree of information flow", a substantive category derived through the grounded theory methodology, provides an understanding of the emotional relationship expatriates in KSA have with the Internet. An expatriate information flow model was developed explaining the pre-conditions to and the consequences of information flow. The paper shows that the pre-conditions to information flow include overcoming the challenges experienced by Internet users in KSA in addition to their intention to use the Internet based on their personal needs, status and personality. The consequences of information flow were indicated as having an overall positive impact on the expatriate's well-being. This was operationalised as giving expatriates an extended control over their environment, increased social presence and an increased exchange of information between the expatriates and their benevolent communities.


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