Global e-Business Association

The e-Business Studies - Vol. 17 , No. 5

[ Article ]
The e-Business Studies - Vol. 17, No. 5, pp.139-150
Abbreviation: The e-Business Studies
ISSN: 1229-9936 (Print) 2466-1716 (Online)
Print publication date Oct 2016
Final publication date 30 Oct 2016
Received 27 Sep 2016 Revised 21 Oct 2016 Accepted 27 Oct 2016

During Global E-business Environment Measure Expatriate Satisfaction for Chinese Subsidiaries Using the Ordered Weighted Averaging
Mie Jung Kim** ; Liyuan Wang***
**Professor, Department of International Commerce, Dongguk University (
***Ph. D. Candidate, Department of Global Business Dongguk University (

글로벌 e-비즈니스 환경에서 OWA를 이용한 해외주재원의 직무 만족도 측정 : 중국현지법인을 중심으로
김미정** ; 왕려원***
**동국대학교 경주캠퍼스 국제통상학부 부교수 (
***동국대학교 대학원 글로벌비즈니스협동과정 대학원 박사과정 (


With the fast growth of Chinese market, many multinational corporation enter into China to join various businesses. Thus, more and more expatriate was dispatched to China, how to improve them work performance become big problem for each MNCs. Expatriate satisfaction is a really important factor to job performance. The objective of this paper is to find out the criteria that affect to expatriate and relative importance for expatriates to be send into Chinese subsidiaries firms. For this study we use AHP, PCA and OWA to measure expatriate satisfaction. From the results we can see, for asian countries (Japan and Korea) family and organizational factors are more important to their satisfaction, but for western country (America) personal factors are important to them. Also formcase study, combined with AHP, PCA and OWA, we give subsidiaries a scientific method to measure the expatriate' satisfaction. We expect that the result of this study can help in improving the performance of multinational corporations.


글로벌 e-비즈니스 환경하에서 중국의 시장성장과 함께 초국가적 기업들이 중국시장으로 진출하고 있다. 중국 진출을 통하여 ICT를 활용한 다양한 사업을 하고 있으며, 이와 더불어 자본과 인력자원이 진출하고 있다. 그러나 중국의 시장은 해외주재원의 적응이 어려운 국가 중의 하나이다. 따라서 중국에 진출한 해외주재원의 현지적응이 매우 중요하며, 이러한 현지적응을 통하여 직무능력을 향상시킬 수 있는 직무만족도의 측정이 필요하다.

본 연구에서는 중국에 주재해 있는 해외주재원의 직무만족도를 높일 수 있는 요인을 찾아내고 이를 효율적으로 활용하는데 목적을 두었다. 이를 위한 연구방법으로는 중국현지의 해외주재원에게 성과달성을 위한 직무만족도 측정의 방법으로 OWA, PCA, AHP 등을 사용하였다. 이는 해외주재원의 주관적인 의도를 반영할 수 있는 방법으로 해외주재원이 직무만족도를 체계적으로 향상시킬 수 있는 방안을 제시하였다. 이를 통하여 해외의 현지법인도 성과를 높일 수 있다.

Keywords: Expatriate satisfaction, AHP, PCA, OWA, China Subsidiaries
키워드: 해외주재원, 직무만족도, AHP, PCA, OWA

Ⅰ. Introduction
Ⅱ. Literature Review
Ⅲ. Research Model and Methodology
Ⅳ. Number Example
Ⅴ. Conclusion

Ⅰ. Introduction

With the developing of the Chinese market to world economy, more and more MNCs pay attention to this market. From National Bureau of Statistics of the People's Republic of China, in 2013, there are 445962 foreign-funded enterprise in China, the registered capital of those company are more than $160 millions. Because many foreign companies want to keep direct control of key functions, there are a large number of non-Chinese staff working in foreign-invested enterprises including joint ventures, representative offices, wholly owned subsidiaries and branch offices. From expat explorer report 2014 <Table 1>, China tops the Expat Economics league tables, ranking 1st across a range of economic factors including income, wealth and disposable income, and in the top five for satisfaction with the local economy. a significant proportion of expats in China say that they are happy with the general state of the economy (85% compared with the 62% global average) and this does not look set to change, as over half (52%) currently associate the country with economic growth (compared with the global average of 33%).

<Table 1> 
Expat Economics Rank and Score
Country Expat economics Household income Personal disposable income Satisfaction with local economy
China 0.70 0.49 0.76 0.85
Switzerland 0.64 0.36 0.68 0.87
Singapore 0.58 0.23 0.64 0.88
Oman 0.58 0.19 0.69 0.86
Qatar 0.57 0.18 0.70 0.84
Hong Kong 0.57 0.31 0.63 0.76
Germany 0.57 0.18 0.65 0.87
Vietnam 0.53 0.20 0.75 0.65
Taiwan 0.53 0.24 0.65 0.68
United Arab Emirates 0.51 0.12 0.58 0.82

A lot of literature research on expatriate satisfaction, but few research on how to measure expatriate satisfaction. So if MNCs they can measure expatriate satisfaction and understand their problem, it is good to improve job performance and expatriate life quality (Keon-Bong, Lee 2015). For this study we have chosen AHP, PCA and OWA to help MNCs to know their expatriate problem well.

Ⅱ. Literature Review
1. Analytic Hierarchy Process

The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) based on mathematics and psychology. AHP is basic method for complex decision making, it can be used in a wide variety of decision situations, in fields such as government, business, industry, healthcare, shipbuilding (Saracoglu, 2013). Using the AHP involves the mathematical synthesis of numerous judgments about the decision problem at hand. In this study, it focuses on multinational cooperation expatriates satisfaction by AHP.

2. Principal Component Analysis

Principal component analysis is a statistical procedure that uses an orthogonal transformation to convert a set of observations of possibly correlated variables into a set of values of linearly uncorrelated variables called principal components. PCA is mostly used as a tool in exploratory data analysis and for making predictive models. Also PCA is way to calculate the weight.

3. Ordered Weighted Averaging

The ordered weighted averaging aggregation operators, commonly known as OWA operators, are introduced by Yager in1988 to provide a parameterized class of mean-type aggregation operators. Many notable mean operators, such as the Max, arithmetic average, median, and Min, are members of this class. OWA operators have been widely used in computational intelligence due to their flexibility in modeling linguistically expressed aggregation instructions (Ching-Hsue Cheng, Jia-Wen Wang and Ming-Chang Wua, 2009).

4. Expatriate Satisfaction

The word “expatriate” means gone out from one’country (form ex-‘out’+patria‘native country.') (Oxford English Dictionary 2010). Expatriate satisfaction refers to their satisfaction with jobs and with the more general aspects of their life in a foreign country (Li and Tse, 1998). Expatriate life satisfaction is the satisfaction with his life in different cultural, social and economic environment in a foreign country. For exports job satisfaction is important factor to foreign work performance, even to oversea market business success or not (Kim Mie-Jung, 1993). Expatriate satisfaction factors including quality of life, work life balance and family stability, all assist in the decision-making process of an international career, future career direction, and later whether to remain in the host country (Marian Crowley-Henry, 2007).

Ⅲ. Research Model
1. AHP Model for Expatriate.

From existing studies, there are a lot of criteria for expatriate satisfaction. Webb and Wright (1996) said expertise can include cultural sensitivity, interpersonal skills, adaptability and ability. After reviewing the literature, we concluded that there are four distinct aspects:

1) Personal factors;
2) Family factors;
3) Organizational factors;
4) Social factors.

1) Personal factors: it is important factor for employees job satisfaction, which can decide expatriate work quality and life quality. (Connerly et al., 2008). Takeuchi, (2009) stated, “it is expected that expatriates are open-minded individuals because of their international experience”, thus expatriates may assist in some key factors for competitiveness. Personal factors can include international experience, language and achievement self efficacy.

For expatriate, language can be divided two parts: internal problem and external problem (Shaffer & Harrison, 1998).

If expatriate have any internal problems, expatriates may need to communicate upward with their local superiors and horizontally with local peers (Kim Mie-Jung 2006).

External problem means interactions with customers, suppliers, government agencies and during social life may be other areas much affected by the language barrier.

2) Family factors: Family system theory and the related concept of family equilibrium suggest that pressures both outside the family and within the family can equilibrium of the family (Brett and Stroh, 1995). For those expatriates who do return from their assignment prematurely, studies have found that spouses' inability and the expatriate' inability to adjust to living in the host country were the two most frequency cited reasons for the failure (Fukuda and Chu, 2016). Family factors include two parts single and married (spouse; children).

3) Organizational factors: as Shalley and Gilson (2004) state, “a high bureaucratic organization may not encourage employees to try new ways of doing their work, whereas a flatter structure with wider spans of control may be more conducive to employee creativity”. Organizational factors colleague relationship, income (salary; allowance) organizational support (feedback; autonomy and equipment).

4) Social factors: Wang and Rabindra (2004) explained that expatriate social networks consist of relationships between expatriates and host country nationals and friends. Wang and Rabindra (2004) suggested that when expatriates get information about jobs and the way of life from their social network, they adjust themselves in a foreign culture faster. Social factors include social network, food, infrastructure, morality and law systems and ethnic discrimination.

2. The Procedure

In this research, we used the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) to measure the criteria weight and then choose expatriate. Following is the flow chart explaining how to used AHP, PCA and OWA choose the expatriate candidates (Ronald R. Yager and Janusz Kacprzyk, 1997; Vicenc Torra and Yasuo Narukawa, 2007)

[Figure 1] 
The Procedure of OWA

[Figure 2] 
AHP Model

Ⅳ. Number Example

A sample case is shown below to illustrate how the AHP model is used to expatriate satisfaction. The United States we choose two professors in university and two expatriates. Korea: two professors and one expatriate in China and one HR manager. Japan: three expatriates they stay in China more than 5 years. As the answer by experts it can get weight like below:

Though SuperDecisions we can measure the weight and inconsistency. All of the them are more than 0.1. Depend on the research results, we can make the table like <table 2>.

From the results, we can find that Korean multinational cooperation family factor (0.39) and organizational factor (0.39) are important. For American, personal (0.46) is more important. For Japan also organizational factor (0.39) is important.

12 Korean expatriate in China did the questionnaires. By PCA calculate the weight.

<Table 2> 
Weights of 4 Criterion
Criteria Korea America Japan
Personal Factors 0.16 0.46 0.12
International experience
           External problem
Family factors 0.39 0.30 0.38
Organizational Factors 0.39 0.14 0.39
Colleague Relationship
Organizational support
Social factors 0.06 0.09 0.11
Social network
Morality and law system
Ethnic discrimination

<Table 3> 
Weights of PCA
Criteria Korea Criteria Korea
International experience 0.08444662 Allowance 0.024511219
Language internal problem 0.101204125 Feedback 0.084698341
Language external problem 0.030298179 Autonomy 0.103068257
Achievement self efficacy 0.100573959 Equipment 0.081655645
Single 0.124366695 Social network 0.031595974
Spouse adjustment 0.131945142 Food 0.049233186
Children adjustment 0.1384804 Infrastructure 0.168423275
Colleague relationship 0.061021007 Social culture and morality 0.128918896
Salary 0.11405669 Ethnic discrimination 0.057737175
OWA: from AHP and PCA

This is a case study on expatriate from 6 candidates in Korean MNEs, we give the basic information about six people. These are experts who are assigned with the task of weighting each attribute, and getting information of expatriates. These estimates rate the importance of criteria from 1 to 10, and in this research, there are three experts objectively making decisions about each candidate from a range of options.

An OWA of dimension n is a mapping f : that has an associated weighting vector W= [w1,w2, . . . ,wn] with the following properties:

wi0.1 for iI=1,2,,n and iIwi=1

such that


Yager (1988) introduced two important characterizing measures in respect to the weighting vector W of an OWA. One of these two measures is orness of the aggregation (Chang & Cheng, 2006), which is defined as


and normally α=0, 0.5, 1, 2.

In this study, <table 5> show the benefit criteria and cost criteria for expatriate satisfaction

<Table 4> 
The Mean Value of their Manager’s Opinion.
E1 E2 E3 E4 E5 E6
International experience 9 7 6 5 6 8
Language internal problem 2 4 7 6 3 2
Language external problem 1 6 4 3 7 4
Achievement self efficacy 7 6 7 7 8 9
Single 4 0 0 0 0 0
Spouse adjustment 0 6 8 7 10 9
Children adjustment 0 7 7 4 10 10
Colleague relationship 8 5 6 7 7 8
Salary 8 8 8 9 8 9
Allowance 9 9 10 10 6 8
Feedback 7 6 7 6 4 5
Autonomy 7 7 7 6 9 8
Equipment 6 5 6 7 9 8
Social network 4 4 4 6 7 6
Food 8 5 7 7 7 5
Infrastructure 6 5 7 6 6 6
Morality and law systems 6 4 6 5 6 7
Ethnic discrimination 7 7 3 2 1 1

<Table 5> 
Benefit Criteria and Cost Criteria
Benefit criteria Cost criteria
International experience Allowance Food Language internal problem
Family Equipment Infrastructure Language external problem
Self efficacy Feedback Social culture Ethnic discrimination
Colleague relationship Autonomy
Salary Social network

From table we can see there are 13 benefit criteria (International experience, allowance, food, family, equipment infrastructure, self efficacy, feedback, social culture, colleague relationship, autonomy, slaary and social network) and 3 cost criteria ( language internal problem, language external problem and ethnic discrimination).

Clustering is a method that groups a set of physical or abstract objects into classes of similar object which classes are not predefined (Dunham, 2002). The grouping is accomplished by finding similarities between data according to characteristics found in the actual data.

This is because clustering partitions large data sets into groups according to their similarity. K-means clustering takes the input parameter, k, and partitions a set of n objects into k clusters so that the resulting intra-cluster similarity is high but the inter-cluster similarity is low (Han & Kamber, 2006).

<Table 6> 
The Result of Aggregated Values
Weight a=0 a=0.5 a=1 a=2
International experience 0.08444662 0.068499574 0.05722331 0.043611655
Language internal problem 0.101204125 0.077419987 0.060602062 0.040301031
Language external problem 0.09 0.072513741 0.060149089 0.045223634
Achievement self efficacy 0.100573959 0.076974393 0.060286979 0.04014349
Single 0.124366695 0.111371991 0.102183347 0.091091674
Spouse adjustment 0.16 0.151782922 0.145972571 0.138958856
Children adjustment 0.16 0.153697055 0.1492402 0.1438603
Colleague relationship 0.12 0.102725453 0.090510504 0.075765756
Salary 0.18 0.160685652 0.147028345 0.130542518
Allowance 0.03 0.028392373 0.02725561 0.025883414
Feedback 0.084698341 0.068677568 0.057349171 0.043674585
Autonomy 0.163068257 0.118235603 0.086534129 0.048267064
Equipment 0.081655645 0.060668193 0.045827823 0.027913911
Social network 0.031595974 0.031128524 0.030797987 0.030398993
Food 0.054 0.052603832 0.051616593 0.050424889
Infrastructure 0.168423275 0.123779532 0.092211638 0.054105819
Morality and law systems 0.128918896 0.094088358 0.069459448 0.039729724
Ethnic discrimination 0.057737175 0.041997921 0.030868587 0.017434294

<Table 7> 
OWA Operator Table(when, n=3)
Correct clustering Incorrect clustering Accuracy rate(%)
a=0 9 3 0.75
a=0.5 9 3 0.75
a=1 9 3 0.75
a=2 10 2 0.83

Therefore, this paper proposes an OWA based clustering method to enhance the performance of K-means method (Dunham, 2002). For the results a=2 is K-means.

After got the weight of Korean expatriate, based on the real information of expatriate1 and expatriate 2 we can find the results.

Ⅴ. Conclusions

In this study, the AHP model has four hierarchies representing the four primary aspects: personal factors, organizational, social and family. The major advantage for decision makers is to get a clear snapshot of the alternatives. It can develop a model on measure expatriate satisfaction. Expatriate satisfaction factors including quality of life, work life balance and family stability two parts. So personal factors and organizational factors are belong to work part, social factors and family factors is belong to family part, all assist in the decision-making process of an international career, future career direction, and later whether to remain in the host country.

Particularly, we combined AHP, PCA and OWA together which can give a more objective and scientific method to successful oversea business. This method can also be applied in other fields to select the best from a set of alternatives, each of which is evaluated against multiple criteria.

This research focuses on Korean American and Japanese companies. The approach is to develop a significant and useful model for their MNEs manager. From the results of AHP, we can conclude that for three countries’ MNEs, for Korean and Japanese organizational factor and family factors are important but for American personal factor is more important, that is different between Asia and west country. And for American, personal factors are most important, because west like chat with others, employees' language skill is really should be cared. The next criteria are family factors being single is better than being married.

<Table 8> 
The Expatriate Satisfaction Results

After the calculating process of OWA, we can conclude that expatriate 6 from Korea we found salary and spouse adjustment are really obviously effect to expatriate satisfaction. In this way, MNEs should pay attention to employee’ salary and spouse to improve oversea company marketing performance.

However, this study focus on expatriates in China, so there will be different results for different countries. The contribution of this research, first, we want to find different characteristics of the factor effect to expatriate satisfaction. Second, in this study the most particularly point is to combine AHP, PCA and OWA together. Finally, we give the new way to parent company to measure expatriate's satisfaction. In the future, we would also want to use this method and apply it in other fields.


This paper was supported by research funds of Dongguk University in 2016.

이 논문은 2016년 동국대학교 연구비 지원에 의한 것임.

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