Analysis of organisational culture on employees’ job satisfaction in the Mobile Telecom Industry in China: A case of China Mobile (56386)

employees’ job satisfaction at China Mobile

Analysis of organisational culture on employees’ job satisfaction in the Mobile Telecom Industry in China: A case of China Mobile (56386)

A proposal for module 56386 – Research Methods and Dissertation.

Hull University Business School.

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Background information

Job satisfaction is an invaluable prerequisite to sustainable good performance of any firm. In fact, Job satisfaction influences the level of performance directly and as such influencing the level of profitability (Kumari, 2011). Dotson and Allenby (2010) share the same sentiments noting that although employee satisfaction drives financial performance of a firm, the level of employee satisfaction matters a lot and especially so in a service industry. An example is evidenced in a research done by Yvonne et al. (2014) on a retail-franchise firm that reveal a direct link between job satisfaction and employee performance. This means that the nature of job satisfaction makes it central to any organisation that is geared towards productivity.

Belias and Koustelios (2014) in their review of organisational culture find a relationship between organisation culture and job satisfaction. This is through elements such as leadership, communication et cetera. As such, it is important for any leadership in an organisation to note that the orientation of the organisational culture affects the ultimate employee job satisfaction and hence performance. In an industry that faces stiff competition, a firm cannot help but use its workforce to create differentiation. As BBC News (2012) evidences, the Telecommunication industry in China is growing and similarly the level of competition is increasing by the day. China Mobile specifically according to BBC News (2012) though having the largest market share has had an incident of decreasing share value due to performance issues. In light of these facts, it is critical to investigate the impact of organisational culture in the China Mobile firm, from which the results can be extrapolated to the telecom industry in China. The main question this research seeks to answer shall be: Does organisational culture at China Mobile impact of its employees’ performance? And if so, what are the specific elements of organisation culture that affect performance?

Research questions, aims and objectives

 Aim of the research

The main of this research is to evaluate the effect of organisational culture on employees’ job satisfaction in the Mobile Telecom industry in China with specific reference to China Mobile.

 Research objectives

In order to address the research aim effectively, this research seeks to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. To examine theorganisational culture of China mobile
  2. To investigate how organisation culture influences manager’s leadership behaviour in China Mobile
  3. To explore the relationship between manager’s leadership behaviour and employees’ job satisfaction in China Mobile
  4. To analyse the mediating effect of manager’s leadership behaviour between organisation culture and employees’ job satisfaction in China Mobile
  5. To provide recommendations for China Mobile

Research questions

As established above in the research aim and objectives, this research aims at demystifying the impact of organisational culture on employee job satisfaction in China mobile. Drawing form these insights, this research seeks to answer that main question which is; Does organisational culture at China Mobile impact of its employees’ performance? Further the following questions shall be answered;

  1. How does organisational culture influence employee job satisfaction at China mobile
  2. How does leadership at China mobile as an element of culture affect employee job satisfaction
  3. Can the managers’ leadership roles mediate China Mobile’s culture with its employee satisfaction?

Through the answering of the stated questions, this research will have addressed the objectives listed above and consequently the aim.

Literature review

Organisational culture

Sempane, Rieger and Roodt (2002) in their research define organisation culture as the immediate climate in an organisation as experienced by the employees. It consists of policies, norms and traditions that have been and are still prevalent in an organisation. Sun (2009) simplifies this definition to “the way we do things around here. Sun (2009) borrows from Hofstede’s model of organisation culture as seen in figure 1 below. Shahzad, Luqman and Khan (2012) maintain the same definition but bring on a different dimension by relating organisation culture to performance. Their findings indicate that if employees become more committed towards aligning with the organisation’s culture, the performance would be improved and that means the achievement of an organisation’s goals.

Figure 1: Hofstede’s framework for organisational culture (Sun, 2009)
Figure 1: Hofstede’s framework for organisational culture (Sun, 2009

Organisational culture in the Chinese Telecommunication industry

There is a literature gap in regard to literature specifically addressing the organisation culture in Chinese the Chinese telecommunication industry. As such, the results of other studies focusing on different sectors of the Chinese market of similar to the Chinese general organisational culture can be extrapolated. This research will thusly endeavour to fill this gap through a case study of China mobile. However on the specific case of China Mobile, a study by Tu and Yuan (2010) shows that China mobile has been facing challenges in the market since 2010 and has tried to take measures that will improve its performance. Among this measures include redefinition of their inner culture through what they termed as an enterprise culture policy. The main intention is to unify their culture and that of their subsidiaries. The result expected is better performance. The same sentiments were aired earlier by Biggs (2010) who notes a change in strategy by China Mobile under which they were trying to change their corporate culture and that of Guangzhou Mobile which is their subsidiary. This was due to low satisfaction in their employees in the customer care department.

Leadership dimensions

Bhatti et al. (2012) define leadership as a social influence process under which an individual influences subordinates who are willing or unwilling towards the attainment of specific organisational objectives. The research by Bhatti et al. (2012) sought to investigate the impact of autocratic and democratic leadership on Job satisfaction. Firstly, the differentiation offered by the research on the two leadership approaches is that in autocratic leadership, the subordinates are under dictatorship while in democratic leadership, subordinates enjoy mush freedom even on decision making. In their findings, Bhatti et al. (2012) indicate that there is a positive correlation between leadership style and job satisfaction and that democratic leadership results in more satisfied employees.

The impact of organisation culture on leadership aspects

Malby (2007) in her report identifies a direct relationship between leadership and organisational culture. However, she is keen to note that both of these are interdependent. A research done by Buble (2012) on leadership and organisational culture in large firms in Croatia shows there is existence of interdependence. The research also notes that the overlap between culture and leadership variables is present in some but not  all organisation. Figure 2 depicts the investigated elements.

Figure: Leadership and culture variable that are interdependent Buble (2012).

The influence of leadership on employee satisfaction

As established above, it is evident that leadership influences job satisfaction. This is majorly due to the sentiments expressed in the findings of the research by Bhatti et al. (2012) as described in the previous section. In a predictive survey carried out by Wong and Laschinger (2012) in 2008, the same results were found. This research by Wong and Laschinger (2012) primarily focuses on the links between authentic leadership, empowerment and job satisfaction among nurses. A sample of 280 nurses were investigated and the findings pointed to the fact that authentic leadership motivated nurses and consequentially resulted in improved performance. This is noting the position of the study that authentic leadership is the root of effective leadership. In the study by Voon et al. (2011) where the focus was on leadership styles and their influence on job satisfaction in public sectors in Malaysia, the findings indicate that leadership and job satisfaction are positively correlated. However an important additional element in their findings is that transformational leadership has a stronger association to job satisfaction in comparison to transactional leadership.

Whilst referring to this extant literature this research thus will seek to establish the extent to which leadership at China Mobile is interdependent with organisation culture and the manner in which this leadership influences employee satisfaction on the job.

Research design and methods

Research strategy

In this research, the Case study approach will be applied. A case study analysis of the impact of organisational culture on employee job satisfaction oat China Mobile will be focused on. The use of case study is advocated for by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) because it offers a comprehensive analysis. In addition, it is possible to apply the findings of a case study to a different but related context. As such the findings of this case may be applied to other Telecommunication firms in the Chinese market. Similarly, the fact that case studies focus too much on the factors of a single case may jeopardise their applicability in the general scenarios (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). Regardless, the research deemed this approach as appropriate as the research seeks to contribute to the Mobile telecommunication industry.

Qualitative and Quantitative Techniques

Bernard (2013) notes qualitative approaches are mainly associated with descriptive data and thusly this research will use qualitative techniques to analyse part of the data that will be under study. Further, since this study does not majorly focus on the relationship among statistically quantifiable variables, the qualitative approach will be predominant. However, the study will also apply quantitative approaches in so as to effectively analyse primary data that may be coded statistically and that may require the analysis on relationships between variables. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) maintain that quantitative techniques are imperative in cases where statistical analysis are predominant whilst qualitative techniques better suit situations where the sample size is small. Since the data collected may not be from a large sample due to financial and time limitations on the side of the researcher, the major use of qualitative techniques is appropriate.

Research philosophy and approach

In this research, the researcher shall undertake the interpretivist view as the philosophy. According to Badke (2008), the use of interpretivism is appropriate in the event that the researcher may not have a large sample from which to gather information. As established above, this research will be limited in the amount of information gathered and thus the interpretivist view is fit. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) advocate for the use of interpretivism in the analysis of management subjects in fields such as human interaction and behaviour. This is because interpretivism views the research subjects as social actors that are supposed to be understood from their environment. The researcher thus gets an empathetic approach and better understands the subjects under study. However, a limitation in this approach is failure to accept the dimension that results can form generalisable rules. Consequently, since generalisation is not the main concern of the research, the researcher shall adopt the inductive approach that Badke (2008) believes offers a deeper and thorough understanding of the subjects under study. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) also support this by noting since the inductive approach is not about generalisation, then a more comprehensive study can be achieved.

Data collection and data analysis

This research applies both primary and secondary data. However, the main focus is on primary data due to the limited availability of secondary data on the case under study – China Mobile. The available secondary data will be used to supplement primary data. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) present some of the methods of collecting primary data as interviews, questionnaire surveys and observation. An importance accorded to primary data is the originality and lack of bias that often exists in secondary data due to the influence of the relevant researchers. Further, Badke (2008) confirms that the use of primary data is important as it gives the researcher full control of the specific areas that the researcher wants to pursue within the study. In line with primary data collection, the researcher will use interviews and partly questionnaires. The interview shall be conducted among the employees of China mobile with special preference to the employees at the top tiers of leadership. Interviews according to Gratton and Jones (2004) are often used in the case where qualitative data needs to be collected. They note that interviews allow for the researcher to capture elements other than what the question asks since the responses are open-ended. The questionnaires shall be used to offer supplementary answers as to the level of satisfaction that is related to good leadership. On the interview end the researcher will record the interviews and later go through the recordings. The questionnaires shall be issued to the same people interviewed and then collected at the end. The information collected through interviews shall be analysed using content analysis. Content analysis according to Franzosi (2008) is the process where a large amount of information in compressed into smaller and meaningful bunches of information that are communicate meaning easily. As for the quantitative data from the questionnaire, the researcher will use statistical packages specifically statistical packages for social sciences (SPSS) and MS excel to analyse it.

Time scale and project plan

The research will be divided into five chapters. Chapter one will offer and introduction and background to the topic and firm under study. Chapter two will offer a literature review of the objectives of the study. Chapter three will discuss the methodologies while chapter four will discuss the findings and analyse them. Chapter five will offer conclusions and recommendations. The time plan is as in figure 3 below.

Figure 3: Gnat chart for the time scale of the research.
Figure 3: Gnat chart for the time scale of the research.


Badke, W. (2008) Research strategies. New York: IUniverse, Inc.

BBC News, (2012) China Mobile’s profits fall as competition increases – BBC News (Online) Available at: (Accessed 12 May 2015).

Belias, D. and Koustelios, A. (2014) ‘Organizational Culture a nd Job Satisfaction: A Review’, International  Review of Management and Marketing, 4(2), pp.132-149.

Bernard, H. (2013) Social research methods. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

Bhatti, N., Maitlo, G., Shaikh, N., Hashmi, M. and Shaikh, F. (2012) ‘The Impact of Autocratic and Democratic Leadership Style on Job Satisfaction’, International Business Research, 5(2).

Biggs, D. (2010) Management Consulting: A Guide for Students. London: Cengage learning EMEA.

Buble, M. (2012) ‘Interdependence of organizational culture and leadership styles in large firms’, Mnagement, 18(2), pp.85-97.

Dotson, J. and Allenby, G. (2010) ‘Investigating the Strategic Influence of Customer and Employee Satisfaction on Firm Financial Performance’, Marketing Science, 29(5), pp.895-908.

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Gratton, C. and Jones, I. (2004) Research methods for sport studies. London: Routledge.

Kumari, N. (2011) ‘Job Satisfaction of the Employees at the Workplace’, European Journal of Business and Management, 3(4), pp.11-30.

Malby, B. (2007) How Does Leadership Make Difference to Organisational Culture and Effectiveness? (Online) Liverpool: Nothern leadership academy, pp.1-18. Available at: (Accessed 12 May 2015).

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2009) Research methods for business students. 10th ed. Harlow, England: Prentice Hall.

Sempane, M., Rieger, H. and Roodt, G. (2002) ‘Job Satisfaction In Relation To Organisational Culture’, SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 28(2).

Shahzad, F., Luqman, R. and Khan, A. (2012) ‘Impact of Organizational Culture on Organizational Performance: An  Overview’, Interdisciplinary journal of contemporary research in business, 3(9), pp.379-385.

Sun, S. (2009) ‘Organizational Culture and Its Themes’, IJBM, 3(12).

Tu, H. and Yuan, X. (2010) Chinese culture, Chinese corporation culture and innovation. Master. University of Gavle.

Voon, M., Ayob, N., Ngui, K. and Lo, M. (2011) ‘The influence of leadership styles on  employees’ job satisfaction in public  sector organizations in Malaysia’, MultiCraft International Journal of Business, Management and Social Sciences, 2(1), pp.24-32.

Wong, C. and Laschinger, H. (2012) ‘Authentic leadership, performance, and job satisfaction: the mediating role of empowerment’, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(4), pp.947-959.

Yvonne, W., Long, C., Rahman, A. and Husna, R. (2014) ‘Employee Job Satisfaction and Job Performance: A Case Study in a Franchised Retail – Chain  Organization’, Research Journal of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, 8(17), pp.1875-1883.

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