Differences in Career Decision-Making Profiles Between American and Chinese University Students: The Relative Strength of Mediating Mechanisms Across Cultures

Yanjun Guan, Xiaohua Sylvia Chen, Nimrod Levin, Michael Harris Bond, Nanfeng Luo, Jingwen Xu, Xiang Zhou, Pei Chen, Chendi Li, Ruchunyi Fu, Jiawei Zhang, Yueting Ji, Zichuan Mo, Yumeng Li, Zheng Fang, Dongqian Jiang, Xue Han

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The results of a survey among American (n = 929) and Chinese (n = 945) undergraduates showed that Chinese participants scored significantly higher on consulting with others, desire to please others, willingness to compromise, dependence on others, and procrastination, but lower on aspiration for an ideal occupation, internal locus of control, and effort invested in career decision-making than did the American participants. Using a model based on self-construals and subjective cultural norms, we established that interdependent self-construal, independent self-construal, and the perceived individualism-collectivism norm operative in the respondents’ nation served as important mediators of the relationship between culture and endorsement of the dimensions of the CDMP. Moreover, based on the model of cultural tightness-looseness, the results provided partial support for the prediction that individuals’ personal cultural orientations (e.g., self-construals) served as stronger predictors for CDMP among the American participants than among the Chinese, whereas the perceived cultural norm served as a stronger predictor for CDMP among the Chinese participants than the Americans. The current research provides implications for career decision-making in different cultural groups and suggests the operation of differential mechanisms involved in reaching career decisions across societies varying in individualism-collectivism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-872
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2015


  • career decision-making profiles
  • cultural tightness-looseness
  • individualism-collectivism norm
  • self-construals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology

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