Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Communication

Major Professor

Eric M. Eisenberg, Ph.D.

Keywords

Job mobility, Personal network, Intercultural communication, Weak tie, Guanxi

Abstract

Building upon Granovetters well-known study of the job search behaviors of white males, this research extended the degree to which his findings apply across cultures to Chinese minorities, and across time to the Internet age. Using quantitative and qualitative data collected through systematic observation, questionnaire surveys, and in-depth interviews, this research investigated the impact of culture, Internet usage, gender and age on the communication patterns of foreign-born Chinese jobseekers in the U.S. It is found that jobseekers adopt either one or a combination of traditional (printed publications and direct application), institutional (the Internet, job fairs, and employment agencies), and personal (personal network) approaches. Within the institutional approach, the Internet job search strategy is a rsing preference among younger jobseekers.

Through the personal approach, jobseekers enjoy four benefits of personal networks: information, trust building, position creation, and job market expansion. Across culture, guanxi, the Chinese version of the personal network is compared and contrasted with its American counterpart. Further, Granovetters argument about the strength of weak ties holds true in todays Internet age. Job-leading weak ties are usually those infrequently contacted professional and social connections working in targeted organizations at the time of a job search. Meanwhile, Chinese jobseekers mainly encounter six obstacles in the U.S.: racial discrimination, cultural obstacle, linguistic obstacle, insufficient network, immigration background, and an intercultural communication gap.

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