Career Anchors of IT/IS Personnel: A Cross-Culture Research Based on the Guanxi Culture Theory

Career Anchors of IT/IS Personnel: A Cross-Culture Research Based on the Guanxi Culture Theory

Christina Ling-hsing Chang (National Pingtung University, Pingtung, Taiwan), Kathy Ning Shen (University of Wollongong, Dubai, UAE) and Sheng Wu (Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Tainan, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/JGIM.2020100109

Abstract

While career anchors have mainly studied in the US society; this study demonstrates the difference in the career anchors of the information technology/information system (IT/IS) personnel rooted in different cultures. The survey was conducted in the PRC (202), Taiwan (145), India (223), the UAE (167), and the US (122) totaling 859 respondents. This study examines the relationship between the guanxi culture, career anchor, job satisfaction, and turnover intention among these five cultural societies' IT/IS personnel. The result shows that the guanxi culture has a different effect on each career anchor, and each one also has a different effect on job satisfaction in the five different cultural societies as well; thus, they have different results in the research model. Also discussed are the implications of the study and its contribution to the research and management practice.
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1. Introduction

Information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) are the core capability of an organization in controlling critical downstream and upstream data (Chang et al., 2011). It is the IT/IS personnel that maintain this core capability for the organization making the turnover of the IT/IS personnel costly, not only in terms of replacing staff and training new employees, but also in terms of systems development productivity, and quality (Jiang & Klein, 1999; Thatcher et al., 2003). Since the 1960s, the turnover rate of the IT/IS personnel were much higher than that for other professional workers (BLS, 2011; Dinger et al., 2015). In the 21st century, notwithstanding the recent trend toward relocating IS jobs offshore, the IT/IS personnel's turnover remains a chronic problem (Lo, 2015).

On the basis of the aforementioned information, the rising turnover rate poses, for professionals and academics alike, serious concerns about how to retain qualified IT/IS personnel (Adams et al., 2006; Joseph et al., 2007). With respect to these issues, this paper finds that in comparison with other occupations, the IT/IS personnel are more affected by the newly-developed IT (Chang et al., 2012; Armstrong et al., 2015). In addition, the IT/IS personnel need to stay current with respect to other professional knowledge which extends beyond their own field (Armstrong et al., 2015; Lounsbury et al., 2014). If the factors causing the IT/IS personnel's turnover can be ascertained, it will then be possible for solutions to be found to prevent it, and thus, to reduce the costs incurred from the turnover. In this regard, numerous researches into the MIS domain have acknowledged the importance of the influence of career planning on the turnover rate of the IT/IS personnel (Sumner & Yager, 2004).

In light of this, researchers argue that understanding the needs of the IT/IS personnel by determining their requirements is important, because an employee's career anchor1 needs the influence selection of occupation and an intention to leave an organization (Agarwal & Ferratt, 2000; Quesenberry & Trauth, 2007; Kannabiran et al., 2016). The concept of career anchor was originally proposed by Schein (1978), who described it as that which guides an employee's career decisions. If an employee's career anchor was satisfied, then the individual has a higher level of job satisfaction. For this reason, positive attainment of job satisfaction is important to retain quality IT/IS personnel. Moreover, the first and second research questions to be resolved in this paper are: What is the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intention of the IT/IS personnel? What is the relationship between the career anchors and job satisfaction of the IT/IS personnel?

Accordingly, culture is another important factor influencing the turnover of the IT/IS personnel (Gerpott et al., 1988; Joseph et al., 2007; Marshall & Bonner, 2003; Wong, 2007), while previous studies have established the different types of career anchors from the context of the US society only (e.g., Igbaria et al., 1999; Wynne et al., 2002; Hsu et al., 2003; Sumner & Yager, 2004). Meanwhile, Christianity in Europe and North America (e.g., Western society (US)), Confucianism in East Asia (e.g., Chinese society (PRC and Taiwan)), Hinduism in South Asia (e.g., India society), and Islam in the Middle-East and Southeast Asia (e.g., UAE society). These areas belong to significantly different cultural groups, and their religion exerts a definite impact on people in those areas, and it will be the most interesting of research topics for scholars (Hwang, 2015). Therefore, this study attempts to explore career anchors within the context of the PRC, Taiwan, India, the UAE and the US cultures, and to compare its findings with those of the aforementioned studies. We expect that the IT/IS personnel from different cultures may develop different needs and values attached to their careers.

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