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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|6181||2012||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8000 کلمه|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 36, Issue 5, September 2012, Pages 669–681
Based on Berry's seminal work on the acculturation process, this study investigates the individual differences of professional Chinese immigrants (PCIs) in terms of their attitudes toward acculturation strategies, and the relationship between acculturation strategies and job satisfaction of PCIs in the Australian workplace. Our survey of a sample of 220 PCIs reveals that PCIs have a predominant preference for maintaining their home culture and that the impact of the acculturation process on their job satisfaction is significant. PCIs adopting the assimilation strategy report the highest level of job satisfaction, while those who embrace the separation strategy have the lowest level. This study provides valuable information for managers and organizations in managing immigrant employees via effective acculturation programs.
Australia aspires to being a knowledge economy, yet it is experiencing acute skill shortages in critical areas such as engineering, accounting and medical and allied health science, amounting to a shortfall of 240,000 skilled workers by 2016 (Rudd, Swan, Smith, & Wong, 2007). In response to this crisis, the Australian government decided to increase the intake of skilled labor from overseas to bolster Australia's economic and social development (Birrell and Healy, 2008 and Rudd et al., 2007). The result was 52,705 skilled permanent arrivals during the period 2007–2008, of whom 14% were born in China (DIAC, 2009). In 2010, China ranked as the third-largest source country for skilled immigrants to Australia (ABS, 2010), placing more than half of all permanent arrivals from China in the skilled category (Hugo, 2007). These are strongly concentrated in the top occupational groups, with 54.6% working as professionals.1 These marked demographic changes and the policy agenda have stimulated our focus on professional Chinese immigrants (PCIs) in Australia. Scholars repeatedly argue that diversified immigrants, like a rich ore, contain a large pool of potential resources in terms of expertise, connections, creativity and innovation capacity (van De Ven, Rogers, Bechara, & Sun, 2008). It is believed that, to a great extent, the successful adjustment of these immigrants may explain, and will translate into, economic success and social development in host countries (van De Ven et al., 2008). In reality, however, immigrants find it very difficult to adjust to Australian workplace culture (Boyd and Thomas, 2001 and Härtel et al., 2008), leaving a significant gap between employers and immigrant employees (Liebig, 2007). Without successful adjustment, these PCIs will not turn into a source of global competitive advantage that can benefit Australia (Lu, Samaratunge, & Härtel, 2011). A better understanding of immigrant employees’ acculturation strategies is an indispensable precondition, since an extensive review of the literature reveals a critical link between immigrants’ acculturation and their adjustment to the host country (Berry, 1997). Although a wealth of research exists on immigrants’ choice of acculturation strategies in the workplace, especially in the USA (e.g., Au et al., 1998, Ea et al., 2008, Leong, 2001 and Leong and Chou, 1994), very few studies have been conducted in the Australian context (Lu et al., 2011). There is an urgent demand for more empirical evidence to understand immigrant employees’ acculturation strategies and the nature of the relationship between acculturation strategies and job-related outcomes, such as employee performance, job satisfaction, commitment, interpersonal communication, and level of conflict (Lu et al., 2011). This is particularly important for countries with a multicultural society such as Australia, because migration is a part of its national heritage (Fujimoto, 2004). This study aims to fill this void in the literature by building on the previous work of Lu et al. (2011) on PCIs. To do so, we first address a specific dimension of acculturation in the Australian workplace by investigating the relationship between individual characteristics and the choice of acculturation strategies of PCIs. Then we examine the impact of different acculturation strategies of PCIs on the level of employees’ overall job satisfaction, which is a key predictor of work behaviors such as organizational citizenship (Organ & Ryan, 1995), absenteeism (Wegge, Schmidt, Parkes, & van Dick, 2007), and turnover (Saari & Judge, 2004). The paper is organized as follows. We start with a theoretical framework, which highlights the relevant hypotheses based on different acculturation strategies and individual characteristics of PCIs. In the next section, we discuss the research design, including sampling and measurement. In the third section, the key findings and their implications for both PCIs and Australian employers are presented. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of limitations and a future research agenda. 1.1. PCIs’ preferred acculturation options In multicultural societies, ethnic groups and their individual members, in both dominant and non-dominant situations, must deal with the issue of how to acculturate by resolving two issues: cultural maintenance (to what extent cultural identity should be maintained) and contact and participation (to what extent good relationships with members of the dominant groups should be developed) ( Berry, 1997 and Berry et al., 1989). When individuals do not want to maintain their original culture and aim at complete absorption into the host culture, they are adopting an assimilation strategy ( Berry, 1997 and Berry, 2003). By contrast, if individuals strongly retain their cultural identity and view relationships with the host cultures as unimportant, they are adopting a separation strategy. When people are interested in maintaining their original culture during daily interactions with the host cultural groups, an integration strategy is their option. Finally, when individuals lose their original culture without establishing ties with the new culture, marginalization has occurred (Berry, 2003) (Fig. 1). Despite the fact that Berry's model (1997) is not without its critics (Rudmin, 2003), it fits the Australian context well. The model assumes that societies advocate multiculturalism and immigrants have the freedom to choose how they want to engage in intercultural relations (Berry et al., 1989). It is, therefore, a suitable model for examining Australian immigrants, since Australia is a country advocating cultural diversity and multiculturalism (DIMIA, 2003). Empirical studies targeting the immigrant population other than China-born groups have revealed that immigrants usually have a strong desire to adopt an integration strategy in a multicultural society ( Berry et al., 1989 and van Oudenhoven et al., 1998). In line with previous studies, we assumed that most immigrants tend to believe that it is important for them to have contact with the majority group in their host country so as to master the new environment (van Oudenhoven et al., 1998). Keeping contact with one's own ethnic group is an efficient way of relieving the stress associated with immigration and acculturation. Immigrants are thus more likely to retain a tie with their traditional culture if the host society allows them to do so (Berry, 2006). Australia's policy and societal ideology in regard to immigration advocate building up a culturally diverse society. In such a society, immigrants are not forced to choose certain ways to acculturate. It is thus hypothesized that: Hypothesis 1. Integration is the most desirable strategy among PCIs in Australia. 1.2. Demographic characteristics and hypotheses development Individuals’ choices of acculturation strategies may be influenced by a variety of demographic characteristics (Berry, 1997). The most widely used characteristics in the literature include gender (Tang & Dion, 1999), education experience in the host country ( Berry, 1997 and Mahmud et al., 2008), past working experience outside the home country (Selvarajah, 2003), age at migration (Yeh, 2003), length of residency in the host country (Choi & Thomas, 2009), and perceived mainstream language proficiency ( Lu et al., 2011 and Marín and Gamba, 1996). However, very little is currently known about the relationship between these characteristics and the level of acculturation orientation of PCIs in the Australian context. This study, therefore, addresses this issue with a review of each factor. 1.2.1. Gender Gender appears to be a factor affecting individuals’ acculturation strategies but studies have produced contradictory results. For instance, Gibson (2001) argued that boys may meet more difficulties than girls in the process of acculturation in the US, and Tang and Dion (1999) found that males were significantly more traditional and tended to assimilate less easily than females after surveying 106 Chinese university students in Toronto, Canada. Another study by Ho (2006) showed that skilled women from Hong Kong and mainland China usually experienced more frustration after entering the Australian labor market than men, and did not adjust so well, compared with men. Based on these mixed findings, we hypothesize that: Hypothesis 2. Gender is associated with the choice of acculturation strategies of PCIs. 1.2.2. Education and work experience Education is a personal resource because problem solving and analysis are usually instilled by formal education. It is also related to other resources such support networks, which are helpful to an individual's adjustment in the host country. Education is a pathway to pre-acculturation to the host country's language, history, values and norms, especially when the education is undertaken in the host country (Berry, 1997). Educational programs help immigrants to obtain gainful employment, which can facilitate their successful adaptation into the host labor market. This in turn promotes higher levels of social interaction and communication with the mainstream fabric of the host society (Choi & Thomas, 2009). Therefore education contributes to network development, which facilitates contacts with the larger society and its members (Nauck, 2001). Education is consistently associated with positive adaptation, that is, higher education is predictive of lower acculturation stress (Beiser et al., 1988, cited in Berry, 1997). In particular, education in the host country can help immigrants to become familiar with the language, history, values and norms of the new culture (Berry, 1997). Therefore: Hypothesis 3a. Education experience of PCIs in Australia is associated with the choice of assimilation. Hypothesis 3b. Education experience of PCIs in Australia is associated with the choice of integration. At the same time, past overseas working experience is also proposed as an important factor which facilitates the individual's work adjustment to the host country, since such people tend to have the experience of dealing with multiple cultures (Selvarajah, 2003). Thus it is proposed that: Hypothesis 4a. PCIs’ previous work-related experience outside China is associated with the choice of assimilation. Hypothesis 4b. PCIs’ previous work-related experience outside China is associated with the choice of integration. 1.2.3. Age at migration Age at migration is broadly reported to affect individuals’ acculturation; more specifically, the younger the individual is when s/he migrates, the higher the levels of acculturation (Kuo & Roysircar, 2004). One possible explanation is that younger immigrants tend to enjoy more flexibility and adaptability, which makes it easier to adjust (Berry, 1997). Also, they have more opportunities to socialize and learn the new culture. For example, young people studying at school have more opportunities for exposure to the host culture and more opportunities to interact with others in building up their friendship network (Choi & Thomas, 2009). This leads to our next hypotheses: Hypothesis 5a. A younger age at migration is associated with the choice of assimilation among PCIs. Hypothesis 5b. A younger age at migration is associated with the choice of integration among PCIs. 1.2.4. Length of residence in the host country Length of residence in the host country has been recorded as an influential factor on the level of acculturation. Empirical studies have shown that the longer the individual resided in the host country, the higher the level of acculturation (e.g., Choi and Thomas, 2009 and van Oudenhoven et al., 1998). Trueba (2004) suggested that immigrants who had resided in the USA for a long period, but remained in contact with their homeland and their people, tended to be oriented toward the host culture at the same time as maintaining their original cultre. In contrast, short tenure in residency within the adopted country can contribute to stress along with the acculturation process, which negatively impacts on an individual's successful adjustment, mental health, and well-being (Miranda & Matheny, 2000). Time of exposure to a non-native culture could lead to more knowledge about and appreciation of the culture (Miranda & Matheny, 2000), promoting willingness to participate in the larger society. Therefore, the present study expects that: Hypothesis 6a. PCIs using an assimilation strategy have longer residence in Australia than PCIs using a separation strategy. Hypothesis 6b. PCIs using an assimilation strategy have longer residence in Australia than PCIs using a marginalization strategy. Hypothesis 6c. PCIs using an integration strategy have longer residence in Australia than PCIs using a separation strategy. Hypothesis 6d. PCIs using an integration strategy have longer residence in Australia than PCIs using a marginalization strategy. 1.2.5. Perceived mainstream language proficiency Language is a tool people can use to communicate and socialize for the purposes of building up their social networks. Numerous studies identify the importance of fluency in the host country's language in individual acculturation and a factor in determining social and economic settlement outcomes (e.g., Choi and Thomas, 2009 and Remennick, 2003). Mainstream language proficiency can facilitate immigrants’ contact with natives and broaden their social networks and resources, which are related to positive acculturation outcomes (Nauck, 2001). For this reason, language proficiency is reported to be a critical factor for immigrants’ success in the labor market in Western countries, particularly for immigrants from non-English speaking countries (Mahmud et al., 2008). Perceived language competence could be a more vital predictor of acculturative outcomes than actual linguistic competence (Noels & Clément, 1996). Various studies have been undertaken to test the relationship between perceived language proficiency and acculturation strategy. The majority of these studies are focused on immigrants in the USA from non-English speaking countries and they point out that fluency in speaking English can facilitate immigrants’ adaptation into the American culture (e.g., Choi and Thomas, 2009 and Yeh, 2003). Berry et al. (1989) conducted a similar line of research in Canada and found that low fluency in English was a predictor of separation. Lu et al. (2011) found that higher levels of perceived English proficiency could predict higher levels of acculturation strategies among the PCIs in Australia. In this research, perceived mainstream language proficiency (here, English proficiency) is included in the model with the expectation that: Hypothesis 7a. PCIs using an assimilation strategy have better perceived English proficiency than PCIs using a separation strategy. Hypothesis 7b. PCIs using an assimilation strategy have better perceived English proficiency than PCIs using a marginalization strategy. Hypothesis 7c. PCIs using an integration strategy have better perceived English proficiency than PCIs using a separation strategy. Hypothesis 7d. PCIs using an integration strategy have better perceived English proficiency than PCIs using a marginalization strategy. 1.2.6. Acculturation and job satisfaction Job satisfaction is a multifaceted concept which can be influenced by various factors, including personal characteristics such as age, gender, education, and job tenure, as well as environmental factors such as promotion opportunities and social support at work (e.g., Au et al., 1998, Ea et al., 2008 and Leong, 2001). Studies of immigrants’ job satisfaction are relatively patchy (Ea et al., 2008). Leong and Chou (1994) hypothesized that less acculturated Asian Americans may experience less job satisfaction and more stress than their relatively more acculturated peers. Leong (2001) tested this hypothesis and found that lower acculturation levels among Asian Americans are significantly correlated with lower levels of job satisfaction. Mace and Carr (2005) found that, in New Zealand, individual immigrants adopting an assimilation strategy are more likely to be fully employed and have higher levels of job satisfaction. Au et al. (1998) also found that acculturation is positively related to job satisfaction among Chinese immigrant restaurant workers in New York. Ea et al. (2008) reported a moderate positive correlation between acculturation and job satisfaction among Filipino registered nurses in the USA. In line with this previous research, we hypothesize that: Hypothesis 8a. PCIs who adopt an assimilation strategy have higher levels of job satisfaction than those who adopt a separation strategy in the Australian workplace. Hypothesis 8b. PCIs who adopt an assimilation strategy have higher levels of job satisfaction than those who adopt a marginalization strategy in the Australian workplace. Hypothesis 8c. PCIs who adopt an integration strategy have higher levels of job satisfaction than those who adopt a separation strategy in the Australian workplace. Hypothesis 8d. PCIs who adopt an integration strategy have higher levels of job satisfaction than those who adopt a marginalization strategy in the Australian workplace.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The present research underscores the need for governments and organizations to obtain an accurate picture of immigrant employees’ acculturation strategies. Only with such information can efficient policies and acculturation-related programs be devised to assist immigrants to integrate into the host workplace. Although findings of this study contribute new knowledge to the existing literature, there are several limitations that need to be addressed. One of the main limitations is the generalizability of the results, because this study is not a comparative study between different ethnic groups or PCIs across national contexts. It only focuses on the Chinese group in the Australian context. Therefore the research outcomes cannot explain the case of immigrants from other countries, nor can it reveal the circumstances of Chinese immigrants in countries other than Australia. Likewise, the failure to find a correlation between age at migration and acculturation strategies may be because all the participants were older than 20 when they migrated to Australia. Similarly, the failure to find a relationship between education experience in Australia and previous work-related experience outside China and acculturation strategies may be because all the participants completed at least their undergraduate study in China. It is very likely that their value system, thinking mode and behavior pattern had already been shaped by the Chinese culture before they migrated. This mitigated the effect of education experience in the host country and overseas previous work-related experience. The exclusive focus on PCIs means that the acculturation experiences of other occupational groups were not captured. The focus on the Chinese population also means that the acculturation experiences of other Asian immigrant groups (e.g., Korean, Japanese and Indian) were not captured. Sampling bias is another potential limitation of this study. The present study adopted the RDS sampling method, which can produce asymptotically unbiased estimates compared with other chain-referral methods such as the snowball sampling method (Heckathorn, 1997). Many seed participants of this study work in universities and research institutions, and half were members of particular Chinese associations. Future studies should consider adopting a mix of sampling methods to improve representativeness of the sample in relation to the target population. It is acknowledged that a range of factors could affect both attitudes toward acculturation and job satisfaction, including socio-economic status, social support at work, and the inclusion/exclusion tendency of the majority. These should be systematically investigated in future research (Au et al., 1998, Ea et al., 2008, Härtel, 2004 and Leong, 2001). Furthermore, the research is confined to self-report. Future studies could consider data sources other than self-report instruments (e.g., interviews with respective managers and employees) to assess acculturation strategies (Chirkov, 2009) and cause-and-effect relationships between acculturation strategies and job outcomes. As a final point, there is a need for research incorporating the host society members’ attitudes toward immigrants’ acculturation choices. In that way, insights into how the majority group shapes the acculturation strategies of immigrant groups can be gleaned (Navas et al., 2005). Such information would facilitate the development of more efficient acculturation programs for organizations. It would also be valuable to explore the effect of “fit” of acculturation strategy preference of immigrants and the host society on immigrants’ accommodation into the labor market and their job satisfaction. Longitudinal research is advisable to identify causal relationships and changes in acculturation strategies over time.