All or nothing: ambivalent acculturation strategies and job satisfaction of bicultural migrants in South Korea

Jinxi Michelle Li, Fabian Jintae Froese, Julia Sophie Schmid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Migrant workers play an important role in South Korea’s economic growth, yet their adjustment difficulties have often been problematic, leading to low job satisfaction. This study investigates the acculturation strategies and job satisfaction of migrant workers from the same country but of different cultural origins. Based on social identity theory, we argue that cultural origin affects acculturation strategies in that bicultural Korean-Chinese tend to enact more integration and assimilation strategies, while mono-cultural Han-Chinese workers enact more separation and marginalization strategies. Moreover, we argue that social support has a moderating effect on this relationship and moderates the indirect effect on job satisfaction. We tested our hypotheses on data from a survey of 351 Chinese workers (203 Korean-Chinese and 148 Han-Chinese). Findings show that Korean-Chinese enact assimilation strategies, and surprisingly, marginalization strategies more often than Han-Chinese workers. These findings suggest that Korean- Chinese are either fully assimilated into Korean society or completely left out. As expected, social support moderates the relationship between cultural origin and acculturation strategy, and the indirect relationships on job satisfaction, underlining the important role of social support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-739
Number of pages21
JournalAsia Pacific Business Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management


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