Employment preferences and expectations regarding employment relationship of South Korean and EU business students

Nada Zupan, Katarzyna Dziewanowska, Cho Seong-Do, Lorne Hwang, Alison Pearce, Angela McGrane, Christine Sorensen

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Workforce diversity is a given fact for most organizations in an increasingly global business environment, with cultural and generational differences being among the most studied sources of diversity. Understanding young generation at work in different cultures is becoming an increasingly important challenge for employers because some research even suggests that the so-called “millennials” are the most expensive work force mostly because of high turnover costs [1]. Companies report difficulties with attracting young talents as well as managing them [2] because of lower work centrality [3]. With our paper we aim to contribute to this knowledge and help employers effectively manage young at work. We adopt the psychological contract perspective in exploring employment expectations. The psychological contract is seen as an important framework for understanding the employment relationship and thus helping organizations to design effective human resource management systems to attract, manage and retain talent. A psychological contract (PC) is an individual’s belief in mutual obligations between an employee and an employer, which can be classified either as transactional (short term and mostly with materialistic focus), relational (long term and not restricted to economic exchange) or balanced (dynamic and open-ended employment arrangements which include both, economic success of a firm and employees opportunities to develop career advantages) [4]. Research consistently shows that if a breach of the psychological contract occurs, i.e. if employees perceive that organizations failed to fulfill promises or obligations, this breach leads to negative work outcomes (e.g. lower job satisfaction, lower commitment and higher intentions to turnover) [5]. Although research related to psychological contracts and their breach has been rather intensive in the last fifteen years, both national culture and generational differences were mostly neglected [6], [2]. Thus the purpose of our study is to fill this gap by increasing general understanding of employment preferences and expectations of future young entrants to job market regarding their prospective employment relationships. We want to explore what kind of psychological contracts employers can expect from the young generation in the future. Our paper focuses on three main research questions: 1) What are employment preferences of young business students regarding the size and type of employer?, 2) What kind of psychological contract characteristics are typical for young business students?, and 3) Are there differences among types of psychological contracts regarding: a) desired future employer’s characteristics, b) career aspirations, such as entrepreneurial career, expert or managerial; c) how much they think that they can trust an employer in general, and d) their general attitude toward work. In order to answer our research questions, we used a quantitative research design. We conducted a survey among business students/recent graduates from leading universities in Korea, Slovenia, Poland and UK. For measuring features of psychological contracts we used the PCI – psychological contract inventory developed by Denise M. Rousseau [4]. It measures expectations regarding employee and employer obligations. Our sample consists of a total of 809 students (247 Korean, 249 Slovenian, 221 Polish and 91 British). We performed a comparative analysis by using descriptive statistics, ANOVA and correlations. Our main findings show that there are some significant differences among students regarding their preferred employment. For example, Korean students prefer larger corporations compared to medium size companies in EU, with the most interest is small companies in Slovenia. Also, there is more interest in public companies in Korea compared to private ones, which are of more interest to EU students. It seems that these differences reflect the structure of the respective economies. We found that overall, students expect more relational and balanced than transactional employment relationships. However, there are more elements of transactional PC present in Poland and Slovenia compared to Korea and UK. These findings are supported by differences in national cultures and work values. Finally, trust in employers seems to play an important role in expectations of more balanced and relational PC. We can also argue that general levels of trust in employers are higher for those students with more work experiences. Overall, trust in employers is the highest in Korea, followed by UK, and is significantly lower in Slovenia and Poland. With our research we could depict some national differences regarding employment preferences and prospective psychological contracts of future entrants to job market. Results suggest that building trust could be an important element for successfully managing employment relationships with young talents and that building trust could start already during the times of study through internships and co-operation between schools and business community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2016
    EventThe 2016 International Conference on Social Collaboration and Shared Values in Business - Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea
    Duration: 23 Jan 2016 → …


    ConferenceThe 2016 International Conference on Social Collaboration and Shared Values in Business
    Period23/01/16 → …
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