Investigating the relationship between cultural intelligence and service quality in hospitality
: A cross cultural study

  • Elham Alshaibani

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study investigates the effect of cultural intelligence of front-line service employees on foreign guests’ perceptions of service quality. This relationship has not hitherto been investigated. The literature suggests that culture and interactions between customers and employees affect service quality. The literature also shows that, in cross-cultural encounters, attitudes and behaviours are important aspects of cultural intelligence, employee performance and service quality. It also points to interrelationships between these constructs. A theoretical model was developed which suggests that in these encounters, cultural intelligence is likely to affect service quality through employee performance. A novel methodological approach consisting of a pilot study and two stages of empirical research were undertaken in international hotels in Karbala, Iraq. The first, qualitative stage was in the form of interviews to gain an insight into the service interactions. Thematic analysis of the data supported the theoretical model and pointed to additional causal relationships. The model was tested in the second quantitative stage. A self-report cultural intelligence questionnaire was administered to a sample of local employees (N=201). A new job performance questionnaire was designed and administered to hotel managers (N=53) to assess these employees’ performance. A SERVPERF questionnaire was also given to foreign guests (N=469) who were served by these employees. The dimensions of these measures were determined by principal components analysis (SPSS 22), and their adequacy was estimated using confirmatory factor analysis (Lisrel 8.8). The model was tested using hierarchical multi-regression analysis. The findings showed that employee performance mediated the relationships between cultural intelligence and service quality. Another main contribution is the development of an employee performance scale for use in service encounters. The study adds to the cross-cultural service literature and to research methodology design. Its implications for management and employee training were discussed, as well as its limitations. Further research was also suggested.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
  • Buckinghamshire New University
SupervisorAli Bakir (Supervisor) & Nadia Wager (Supervisor)

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