Work values of the next generation of business leaders in Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the work values of the current and future workforce is essential for designing a human resource management system that attracts, motivates, and retains talent. This study provides an updated, in-depth analysis of the work values of the next generation of business leaders in the commercial centers of China, Japan, and Korea. Although previous research has often clustered these countries together and labeled them Confucian Asia, survey results from more than 700 respondents reveal striking differences in work values across countries. The Chinese are more individualistic and career oriented, whereas the Japanese are more risk averse and work oriented, and the Koreans are often somewhere in-between. We argue that the value differences can be largely explained by different economic influences in these three countries. This study enhances our understanding of crossvergence theory by distinguishing economic influence in the economic development stage, economic growth, and inward foreign direct investments. While these economic indicators might be related, their influences on work values could be conflicting. The findings suggest that that each economic indicator has a unique effect on the development of work values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-315
Number of pages19
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article was based on the author’s dissertation. During his dissertation work the author received scholarships from Monbukagakusho (Japanese government) and DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). The data collection was funded by the Initiative for Attractive Education in Graduate Schools at the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies of Waseda University and supervised by Professor Shigeto Sonoda. The author revised the manuscript while he spent his sabbatical at the University of Tokyo funded by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. The author would like to express his gratitude for the generous support that made this article possible.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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