Social Indicators Research

, Volume 139, Issue 1, pp 237–257 | Cite as

Cognitive Cultural Intelligence and Life Satisfaction of Migrant Workers: The Roles of Career Engagement and Social Injustice

  • Huong LeEmail author
  • Zhou Jiang
  • Ingrid Nielsen


This paper examines the mediating effect of career engagement on the relationship between cognitive cultural intelligence (CQ) and life satisfaction among international migrant workers in Australia. It also examines the moderating effect of perceived social injustice on the cognitive CQ–career engagement relationship, as well as on the indirect cognitive CQ–life satisfaction relationship via career engagement. Using survey data from four hundred and sixty-two migrant workers in Australia, it was found that cognitive CQ was positively related to life satisfaction and that career engagement mediated this relationship. Social injustice moderated the impact of cognitive CQ on career engagement such that the impact was stronger among those perceiving a higher rather than a lower level of social injustice. Furthermore, the indirect effect of cognitive CQ on life satisfaction via career engagement was also stronger for those perceiving higher social injustice. These findings provide new insights regarding the antecedents of life satisfaction as well as reveal a vocationally relevant mechanism underlying the relationship between cognitive CQ and life satisfaction. The results inform potential practical strategies to enhance the career progression and life satisfaction of international migrant workers.


Cognitive cultural intelligence Life satisfaction Career engagement Social injustice Migrant workers Trait activation theory 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management, Deakin Business SchoolDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Employment Relations and Human Resources, Griffith Business SchoolGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia

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