Skip to main content

Work Satisfaction of Chinese Women

  • Chapter
  • 3685 Accesses

Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)

Abstract

This chapter reviews current literature on work satisfaction of working women in China. We focus on job and career satisfaction as key indicators of employees’ well-being in the Chinese workplace. To provide a full picture of the topic, we first describe the cultural and economic context in contemporary China that has profound effects on organizational practices, employment conditions, and individuals’ work orientations and values. We then examine previous studies on job and career satisfaction of Chinese workers and identify some important personal, family-related, and work-related antecedents. The main differences in work satisfaction between the two genders are specified. Based on the literature review, we highlight some unique characteristics in China that may have significant impacts on women’s work satisfaction. Finally, we suggest several directions for future research.

Keywords

  • Job satisfaction
  • Career satisfaction
  • Economic reforms
  • Working women
  • China
  • Gender discrimination
  • Gender roles
  • Work-family interface
  • Cultural values

Author Note

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Professor Hang Yue Ngo, Department of Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong. E-mail: hyngo@baf.msmail.cuhk.edu.hk. Phone Number: +852 3943 7797. Fax Number: +852 2603 6840.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-9897-6_37
  • Chapter length: 16 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   149.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-94-017-9897-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   199.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   279.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

References

  • Allen, T. D., Herst, D. E. L., Bruck, C. S., & Sutton, M. (2000). Consequences associated with work-to-family conflict: A review and agenda for further research. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5(2), 278–308.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bokemeier, J. L., & Lacey, W. B. (1987). Job values, rewards, and work conditions as factors in job satisfaction among men and women. Sociological Quarterly, 28(2), 189–204.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bruck, C. S., Allen, T. D., & Spector, P. E. (2002). The relation between work-family conflict and job satisfaction: A finer-grained analysis. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 60(3), 336–352.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cao, Y., & Hu, C. Y. (2007). Gender and job mobility in postsocialist China: A longitudinal study of job changes in six coastal cities. Social Forces, 85(4), 1535–1560.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Chen, Y. (2011). Chinese knowledge employees’ career values, perceived organizational support, and career success. iBusiness, 3, 274–282.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cheng, Z. (2013). The effects of employee involvement and participation on subjective wellbeing: Evidence from urban China. Social Indicators Research. doi:10.1007/s11205-013-0430-8.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cheung, F., Tang, C. S., & Tang, S. (2011). Psychological capital as a moderator between emotional labor, burnout, and job satisfaction among school teachers in China. International Journal of Stress Management, 18(4), 348–371.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Chow, I., & Ngo, H. Y. (2001). Gender differences in job attribute preferences and job choice of university students in China. Journal of Applied Business Research, 18(2), 15–25.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chow, C. K. W., Fung, M. K. Y., & Ngo, H. Y. (1999). Job turnover in China: A case study of Shanghai’s manufacturing enterprises. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 38(4), 482–503.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooke, F. L. (2004). Women in management in China. In M. J. Davidson & R. J. Burke (Eds.), Women in management worldwide: Facts, figures and analysis (pp. 243–257). Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooke, F. L., & Xiao, Y. C. (2014). Gender roles and organizational HR practices: The case of women’s careers in accountancy and consultancy firms in China. Human Resource Management, 53(1), 23–44.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Crosby, F. (1982). Relative deprivation and working women. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Currier, C. L. (2007). Redefining ‘labor’ in Beijing: Women’s attitudes on work and reform. Asian Journal of Women’s Studies, 13(3), 71–108.

    Google Scholar 

  • Danna, K., & Griffin, R. W. (1999). Health and well-being in the workplace: A review and synthesis of the literature. Journal of Management, 25(3), 357–384.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • deVaus, D., & McAllister, I. (1991). Gender and work orientation: Values and satisfaction in Western Europe. Work and Occupations, 18(1), 72–93.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Fraser, J., & Hodge, M. (2000). Job satisfaction in high education: Examining gender in professional work settings. Sociological Inquiry, 70(2), 172–187.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Froese, F. J., & Xiao, S. (2012). Work values, job satisfaction and organizational commitment in China. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(10), 2144–2162.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Fu, W., & Deshpande, S. P. (2013). The impact of caring climate, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment on job performance of employees in a China’s insurance company. Journal of Business Ethics. doi:10.1007/s10551-013-1876-y.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gallagher, M. E. (2004). “Time is money, efficiency is life”: The transformation of labor relations in China. Studies in Comparative International Development, 39(2), 17–44.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gao, L. J., & Zheng, Y. (2012). Sex roles and division of household labor in married couples. Chinese Mental Health Journal, 26(7), 543–546.

    Google Scholar 

  • Granrose, C. S. (2007). Gender differences in career perceptions in the People’s Republic of China. Career Development International, 12(1), 9–27.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gu, Q., Wang, L., Sun, J. Y., & Xu, Y. (2010). Understanding China’s post-80 employees work attitudes: An explorative study. Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management, 1(2), 74–94.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Guen, Y., Wen, Y., Chen, S. X., Liu, H., Si, W., Liu, Y., Wang, Y., Fu, R., Zhang, Y., & Dong, Z. (2013). When do salary and job level predict career satisfaction and turnover intention among Chinese managers? The role of perceived organizational career management and career anchor. European Journal of Work and Occupational Psychology, 23(4), 596–607.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Guest, D. (2008). Worker well-being. In P. Blyton, N. Bacon, J. Fiorito, & E. Heery (Eds.), The sage handbook of industrial relations (pp. 529–547). Los Angeles: Sage.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hodson, R. (1989). Gender differences in job satisfaction: Why aren’t women more dissatisfied? Sociological Quarterly, 30(3), 385–399.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Igbaria, M., Greenhaus, J. H., & Parasuraman, S. (1991). Career orientations of MIS employees: An empirical analysis. MIS Quarterly, 15(2), 151–169.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Judge, T., Cable, D., Boudreau, J., & Bretz, R. (1995). An empirical investigation of the predictors of executive career success. Personnel Psychology, 48(3), 485–519.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Konrad, A. M., Ritchie, J. E., Jr., Lieb, P., & Corrigall, E. (2000). Sex differences and similarities in job attribute preferences: A mata-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 126(4), 595–641.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kwok, S. Y. C. L., Cheng, L., & Wong, D. F. K. (2014). Family emotional support, positive psychological capital and job satisfaction among Chinese white-collar workers. Journal of Happiness Studies. doi:10.1007/s10902-014-9522-7.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lefkowitz, J. (1994). Sex-related differences in job attitudes and dispositional variables: Now you can see them…. Academy of Management Journal, 37(2), 323–349.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Li, S., & Ngo, H. Y. (2014). Chinese traditionality and subjective career success: The mediating role of procedural justice and perceived job insecurity. Working paper, Department of Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    Google Scholar 

  • Li, W., Liu, X., & Wan, W. (2008). Demographic effects of work values and their management implications. Journal of Business Ethics, 81(4), 875–885.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Li, N., Liang, J., & Crant, J. M. (2010). The role of proactive personality in job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior: A relational perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(2), 395–404.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Li, X., Frenkel, S. J., & Sanders, K. (2011). Strategic HRM as process: How HR system and organizational climate strength influence Chinese employee attitudes. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(9), 1825–1842.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ling, Y., & Powell, G. N. (2001). Work-family conflict in contemporary China: Beyond an American-based model. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 1(3), 357–373.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Liu, J., Kwan, H. K., & Mao, Y. (2012). Mentorship quality and protégé work-to-family positive spillover, career satisfaction and voice behavior in China. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(19), 4110–4128.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Liu, H. M., & Cheung, F. M. (2014). Testing crossover effects in an actor-partner interdependence model among Chinese dual-earner couples. International Journal of Psychology, 50(2), 106–114.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Locke, E. A. (1976). The nature and causes of job satisfaction. In M. D. Dunnette (Ed.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 1297–1349). Chicago: Rand McNally.

    Google Scholar 

  • Loi, R., & Ngo, H. Y. (2010). Mobility norms, risk aversion, and career satisfaction of Chinese employees. Asian Pacific Journal of Management, 27(2), 237–255.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Loscocco, K. A. (1990). Reactions to blue collar work: A comparison of women and men. Work and Occupations, 17(2), 152–177.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Loscocco, K. A., & Bose, C. E. (1998). Gender and job satisfaction in urban China: The early post-Mao period. Social Science Quarterly, 79(1), 91–109.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lu, H., While, A. E., & Barriball, K. L. (2007). A model of job satisfaction of nurses: A reflection of nurses’ working lives in Mainland China. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 58(5), 468–479.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Mason, E. S. (1994). Gender differences in job satisfaction. Journal of Social Psychology, 135(2), 143–151.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • McNall, L. A., Nicklin, J. M., & Masuda, A. D. (2010). A meta-analytic review of the consequences associated with work-family enrichment. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(3), 381–396.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Mottaz, C. J. (1986). Gender differences in work satisfaction, work rewards, and values and the determinants of workers satisfaction. Human Relations, 39(4), 359–377.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ngo, H. Y. (2002). Trends in occupational sex segregation in urban China. Gender, Technology and Development, 6(2), 175–196.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ngo, H. Y., & Loi, R. (2014). Antecedents and outcomes of perceived gender inequity in the Chinese workplace. International Journal of Employment Studies, 22(2), 49–78.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ngo, H. Y., & Tsang, A. (1998). Employment practices and organizational commitment: Differential effects for men and women. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 6(3), 251–266.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ngo, H. Y., Lau, C. M., & Foley, S. (2008). Strategic human resource management, firm performance, and employee relations climate in China. Human Resource Management, 47(1), 73–90.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ngo, H. Y., Foley, S., Ji, M. S., & Loi, R. (2014a). Work satisfaction of Chinese employees: A social exchange and gender-based view. Social Indicators Research, 116(2), 457–473.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ngo, H. Y., Foley, S., Ji, M. S., & Loi, R. (2014b). Linking gender role orientation to subjective career success: The mediating role of psychological capital. Journal of Career Assessment, 22(2), 290–303.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Nielsen, I., & Smyth, R. (2008). Job satisfaction and response to incentives among China’s urban workforce. Journal of Socio-Economics, 37(5), 1921–1936.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Nielson, I., Smyth, R., & Liu, Y. (2011). The moderating effects of demographic factors and hukou status on the job satisfaction—subjective well-being relationship in urban China. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(6), 1333–1350.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Nolan, J. (2010). Gender and equality of opportunities in China’s labor market. In M. F. Ozbilgin & J. Syed (Eds.), Managing gender diversity in Asia: A research companion (pp. 160–182). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

  • Peng, K. Z., Ngo, H. Y., Shi, J., & Wong, S. C. (2009). Gender difference in the work commitment of Chinese workers: An investigation of two alternative explanations. Journal of World Business, 44(3), 323–335.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Phelan, J. (1994). The paradox of the contented female workers: An assessment of alternative explanations. Social Psychology Quarterly, 57(1), 95–107.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Qu, H. L., & Zhao, X. Y. (2012). Employees’ work-family conflict moderating life and job satisfaction. Journal of Business Research, 65(1), 22–28.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rudd, N. M., & McKenry, P. C. (1986). Family influences on the job satisfaction of employed mothers. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 10(4), 363–372.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Russo, M., Guo, L., & Baruch, Y. (2014). Work attitudes, career success, and health: Evidence from China. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 84(3), 248–258.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rutherford, B. N., Wei, Y., Park, J., & Hur, W. (2012). Increasing job performance and reducing turnover: An examination of female Chinese salespeople. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 20(4), 423–436.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Saari, L. M., & Judge, T. A. (2004). Employee attitudes and job satisfaction. Human Resources Management, 43(4), 395–407.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Scott, D., Bishop, J. W., & Chen, X. (2003). An examination of the relationship of employee involvement with job satisfaction, employee cooperation, and intention to quit in U.S. invested enterprise in China. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 11(1), 3–19.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Shaffer, M. A., Joplin, J. R. W., Bell, M. P., Lau, T., & Oguz, C. (2000). Gender discrimination and job-related outcomes: A cross-cultural comparison of working women in the United States and China. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 57(4), 395–427.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Shi, L., & Jin, S. (2013). Changes in the gender-wage gap in urban China, 1995–2007. In L. Shi, H. Sato, & T. Sicular (Eds.), Rising inequality in China: Challenges to a harmonious society (pp. 384–412). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Siu, O. L., Lu, C. Q., & Cheng, K. H. C. (2003). Job stress and work well-being in Hong Kong and Beijing: The direct and moderating effects of organizational commitment and Chinese work values. Journal of Psychology in Chinese Societies, 4(1), 7–28.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smyth, R., Zhai, Q., & Li, X. (2009). The impact of gender differences on determinants of job satisfaction among Chinese off-farm migrants in Jiangsu. Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, 7(3), 363–380.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Song, Y. P., & Dong, X. Y. (2013). Gender and occupational mobility in urban China during the economic transition. Research in Labor Economics, 37, 93–122.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Spector, P. E. (1997). Job satisfaction: Application, assessment, causes, and consequences. Bevely Hills: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sun, F., & Xiao, J. J. (2012). Perceived social policy fairness and subjective wellbeing: Evidence from China. Social Indicators Research, 107(1), 171–186.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Sun, N., He, Z., Wang, L., & Li, Q. (2009). The impact of nurse empowerment on job satisfaction. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65(12), 2642–2648.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Tang, S. W., Siu, O. L., & Cheung, F. (2014). A study of work-family enrichment among Chinese employees: The mediating role between work support and job satisfaction. Applies Psychology: An International Review, 63(1), 130–150.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Thomas, D. C., & Au, K. (2002). The effect of cultural differences on behavioral response to low job satisfaction. Journal of International Business Studies, 33(2), 309–326.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • To, S. M., & Tam, H. L. (2014). Generational differences in work values, perceived job rewards, and job satisfaction of Chinese female migrant workers: Implications of social policy and social services. Social Indicators Research. doi:10.1007/s11205-013-0470-0.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tu, H. S., Forret, M. L., & Sullivan, S. E. (2006). Careers in a non-Western context: An exploratory empirical investigation of factors related to the career success of Chinese managers. Career Development International, 11(7), 580–593.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wang, F. (2008). Boundaries and categories: Rising inequality in post-socialist urban China. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang, P., Lawler, J. J., & Shi, K. (2010). Work-family conflict, self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and gender: Evidences from Asia. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 17(3), 298–308.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Witt, L. A., & Nye, L. G. (1992). Gender and the relationship between perceived fairness of pay or promotion and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77(6), 910–917.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • World Bank. (2002). China, country gender review. Washington, DC: Author.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yang, X., & Wang, W. (2013). Exploring the determinants of job satisfaction of civil servants in Beijing, China. Public Personnel Management, 42(4), 566–587.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Yu, W. H. (2008). The psychological cost of market transition: Mental health disparities in reform-era China. Social Problem, 55(3), 347–369.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang, L., & Dong, X. Y. (2008). Male-female wage discrimination in Chinese industry: Investigation using firm-level data. Economics of Transition, 16(1), 95–112.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zhang, Y., & Hannum, E. (2013). Marriage, parenthood, and labor outcomes for women and men. In D. J. Besharov & K. Baehler (Eds.), Chinese social policy in a time of transition (pp. 223–248). New York: Oxford University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang, L., Liu, J., Loi, R., Lau, V. P., & Ngo, H. Y. (2010). Social capital and career outcomes: A study of Chinese employees. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(8), 1323–1336.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Zhao, W. (2012). Economic inequality, status perceptions, and subjective well-being in China’s transitional economy. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 30(4), 433–450.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Zhao, X. Y., Qu, H. L., & Ghiselli, R. (2011). Examining the relationship of work-family conflict to job and life satisfaction: A case of hotel sales managers. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(1), 46–54.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Zuo, J. P., & Jiang, Y. P. (2012). Work-to-family conflict and women’s construction of work/family roles in post-Mao China. Advances in Gender Research, 16, 139–164.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hang Yue Ngo .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Ngo, H.Y., Liu, H. (2016). Work Satisfaction of Chinese Women. In: Connerley, M., Wu, J. (eds) Handbook on Well-Being of Working Women. International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9897-6_37

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9897-6_37

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht

  • Print ISBN: 978-94-017-9896-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-94-017-9897-6

  • eBook Packages: Social SciencesSocial Sciences (R0)