The 24-year-old Austrian joined the Potters from Werder Bremen in the summer for £2m.
While admitting that Arnautovic took time to settle at the beginning of the campaign, Hughes now believes that the team is benefiting from the 24-year-old's creative play.
"He's come into an environment that appreciates him, appreciates what he can do for the team, and his personality is different and players enjoy being around him," he told The Sentinel.
"It's not easy to come in and have an impact, certainly as a creative player. It's easier for defensive-minded players. When you are a creative player the onus is on you to win games and that's more difficult.
"But once he's got to grips with it, the second half of the season has been good for the team and good for him."
Stoke are currently in 10th place in the Premier League table following five wins from their last seven matches.