Do gen Zs feel happy about their first job? A cultural values perspective from the hospitality and tourism industry

Juan Tang, Cevat Tosun, Tom Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Purpose: To address Generation Z’s role in the emerging workforce, this paper aims to examine Chinese Generation Z’s subjective well-being (SWB) during their internship in the hospitality and tourism industry through the lens of Chinese cultural values. It explores the extent to which Gen Zs identify with Chinese cultural values and the influences of Chinese cultural values on intern students’ SWB which, in turn, predicts their future job intentions in this industry. Design/methodology/approach: This paper proposes a normative model to contextualize the multi-dimensional interactions between Chinese cultural values, intern students’ SWB, and their future job intentions in the hospitality and tourism industry. A survey as the main data collection method was used with 400 respondents in Macau, China in testing hypotheses and analyzing the direct and indirect effects of these interactions. Findings: The paper provides empirical insights into the way that Generation Z’s SWB is influenced by Chinese cultural values. Findings show that Chinese intern students’ average SWB in the workplace was above average. It also suggests that two cultural dimensions can be identified as playing a significant and salient role in shaping their SWB in the workplace as well as their future job intentions, namely, attitudes toward work and job-related face values. However, no significant relationships with the other three dimensions of CCVs were found to influence their SWB or future job intentions, namely, attitudes toward people, moral discipline and status and relationship. Research limitations/implications: This research results may lack generalizability because the respondents chosen in Macau cannot be fully representative of Chinese Generation Z. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to widen the respondent base. Furthermore, cultural influences are tempered by many macro-contextual factors. Although this study focuses on unpacking Generation Z’s mental status from the level of national culture, other factors such as organizational considerations warrant future academic attention. Originality/value: This paper addresses a research gap by identifying the influences of cultural values on the SWB of intern students which, in turn, affects their future job intentions in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4017-4040
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number12
Early online date26 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2020


  • generation Z
  • tourism industry
  • hospitality
  • subjective well-being
  • Chinese cultural values
  • student interns

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