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Job satisfaction: what is its true meaning in Greater China?

Yong Han (Department of Public Administrative Education and Research, Guangxi Administrative College, Nanning, People's Republic of China)
Nada K. Kakabadse (Northampton Business School, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UK)

Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration

ISSN: 1757-4323

Article publication date: 25 September 2009




Previously, researchers have performed studies on job satisfaction and organizational behavior outcomes in Western contexts. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether economic prosperity or cultural perspective may explain why job satisfaction may not be an effective predictor of organizational outcomes in Greater China. Researchers need more empirical evidence to understand the nature of the relationship between job satisfaction and work outcomes in a non‐Western context in general and in Greater China in particular.


The paper represents a conceptual work that draws on the metrical literature review within the field of organizational behavior.


Review of empirical studies regarding job satisfaction shows that in Greater China, including Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, job satisfaction has a different meaning than those presented in Western organizational behavior literature. The differences in the meaning of job satisfaction between Western interpretation and Eastern (i.e. Chinese) interpretation can be explained by differing Western and Eastern cultural values rather than stages of economic development. Thus, both scholars and practitioners are able to re‐examine the concept, construct and correlates between job satisfaction and its organizational outcomes in Greater China.

Practical implications

The paper has implications for global management awareness in understanding complex meanings of job satisfaction and work outcomes in multinational enterprises and international joint ventures in Greater China.


The paper's findings raise awareness of potential shortcomings in using Western concepts, models and practices in Greater China and other non‐Western cultures. Moreover, it highlights the importance of cultural context and a need for further research in the area of organizational behavior from a Chinese cultural perspective.



Han, Y. and Kakabadse, N.K. (2009), "Job satisfaction: what is its true meaning in Greater China?", Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 155-164.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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