Abstract

We compared predictors of job satisfaction across three countries, China, Japan, and Malaysia, by surveying 600 managers from these countries who worked for the leading Japanese retail firm AEON Co. Ltd., as it strategically expanded across Asia. Learning is a particularly critical area for human resource management (HRM) in developing countries because of the need to adapt and learn. Therefore, we viewed employee adaptation to the host company culture of AEON through the lens of experiential learning theory and learning style. Results showed that Japanese managers preferred learning through feeling and reflecting; Chinese managers preferred learning through thinking and reflecting; and Malaysian managers preferred learning through thinking and acting. Furthermore, Chinese managers showed more balance as learners, whereas Malaysian managers were comparatively in the middle and Japanese managers exhibited the most specialization in their learning orientation. The study also suggested that learning style is a stronger predictor of job satisfaction than culture and ethnicity, but not as strong as some control variables such as language skills. Work satisfaction has been widely used as an indicator of successful HRM practices in multinational companies in advanced, Western and individualistic cultures. Taken together, the measures of learning style and work satisfaction provide the basis of further study into relationship between Confucianism, capitalism and HRM practices.