The purpose of this paper is to determine whether Chinese and US students differ in preference for group work (PGW) and whether the factors contributing to PGW differ in the two countries.
The sample included 412 Chinese and 423 US college students who completed a survey measuring cultural values and motives. Hierarchical regression and simple-slope analyses were used to examine main effects and interactions.
Overall, the US and Chinese students did not differ in PGW. Although US men exceeded US women in PGW, no gender difference occurred in China. PGW was positively associated with others focus (concern for what others think) and helping others in both countries, but the association was stronger in China. In China, but not in the USA, PGW was positively associated with extrinsic motivation and need for achievement. Therefore, despite the general acceptance of group work in the USA, participation in groups is not seen as critical in attaining rewards as it is in China.
Other populations, including practicing managers, should be studied to better represent the workforce of each country. Also, other variables, including personality traits, may impact PGW.
Managers and educators should pay attention to how cultural values and motives of group members vary. Business education should offer more opportunities to increase exposure to cultural differences, including experience working in culturally diverse groups.
The study supports some traditional assumptions concerning the impact of culture upon PGW, but also suggests that a global business orientation can mitigate the impact of traditional national cultures.
Support was received from the Franklin P. Perdue Fund, Salisbury University.
Decker, W.H., Calo, T.J., Yao, H. and Weer, C.H. (2015), "Preference for group work in China and the US", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 90-115. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCM-03-2013-0053
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