A Cross-cultural Examination of Preferences for Work Attributes

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between individual- and country-level values and preferences for job/organizational attributes.
Design/methodology/approach: Survey data were collected from 475 full-time employees (average of nine years work experience, and three years in a managerial position) enrolled in part-time MBA programs in seven countries.
Findings: Preference for a harmonious workplace is positively related to horizontal collectivism, whereas preference for remuneration/advancement is positively related to vertical individualism. The authors also find a positive relationship between preference for meaningful work and horizontal individualism, and between preference for employer prestige and social adjustment (SA) needs.
Research limitations/implications: Although the sample comprised experienced, full-time professionals, using graduate business students may limit generalizability. Overall, the results provide initial support for the utility of incorporating the multi-dimensional individualism and collectivism measure, as well as SA needs, when assessing the relationships between values and employee preferences.
Practical implications: For practitioners, the primary conclusion is that making assumptions about preferences based on nationality is risky. Findings may also prove useful for enhancing person-organization fit and the ability to attract and retain qualified workers.

Originality/value: This study extends research on workers’ preferences by incorporating a new set of values and sampling experienced workers in a range of cultural contexts.