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An examination of the levels of work ethic in the university context across the United States of America, Korea and China

Hana Krskova (Department of Marketing, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia) (The Heart Research Institute, Sydney, Australia) (Focus Consulting, Sydney, Australia)
Yvonne Breyer (Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 12 January 2023

Issue publication date: 22 March 2023

312

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine individuals' levels of work ethic amongst current and recent university attendees across three countries. This article presents the results of a survey of 537 respondents from the United States of America, Korea and China, thus extending the previous research into work ethic, often conducted from a Western perspective. The comparative study aims to enhance the understanding of cross-cultural and gender differences and similarities whilst probing for the levels of work ethic amongst the respondents.

Design/methodology/approach

A comparative research method was adopted because the authors' aim was to probe similarities and differences across three societies. Multiple analysis of variance (ANOVA) and t-tests were utilised to explore gender and country-related differences. Cluster analysis was applied to probe for segments highly similar to each other in the levels of work ethic of the respondents.

Findings

The results confirm the hypothesised differences between countries as well as across gender groups, with American females having the highest levels of work ethic, closely followed by Chinese males and females. Three distinct segments – low, medium and high levels of work ethic – were found in all three countries, indicating that there are individuals in each of the societies who could benefit from strategies for increasing the individuals' levels of work ethic.

Originality/value

Novel gender comparisons of the three country groups revealed American females as having the highest levels of work ethic and Korean females the lowest, whilst the identification of clusters of low, medium and high levels of work ethic provides evidence of the need to increase levels of work ethic to enhance productivity, regardless of the country of origin.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Glyn Mather for her guidance and help. The first author is also grateful for the ongoing support and a flow of inspiration from Associate Professor Chris Baumann, Professor Leigh Wood and Associate Professor Matt Bower.

Citation

Krskova, H. and Breyer, Y. (2023), "An examination of the levels of work ethic in the university context across the United States of America, Korea and China", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 314-336. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-07-2021-0306

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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