A study of subordinate-supervisor Guanxi in Chinese joint ventures

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Journal article

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International Journal of Human Resource Management

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Chinese management, job security, procedural justice, subordinate\-supervisor guanxi, trust


Previous studies showed that guanxi is important for research in Chinese management and business activity. However, the concepts and nature of this practice in the context of China are not yet clear, because guanxi has various related meanings in Chinese society. In addition, only a limited number of researchers have studied this topic in the workplace. This study has the aims to describe and examine this construct in Chinese joint ventures. A model that links the construct of trust in a supervisor with subordinate–supervisor guanxi, together with antecedents of trust in an organization is proposed. The proposed model considers it as an antecedent of trust in a supervisor; procedural justice and job security as antecedents of trust in an organization. It further compares how trust in a supervisor and trust in an an organization affect the turnover-intention of workers. A data set consisting of 292 employees in joint ventures in Southern China was used to test the hypotheses. The results of LISREL (a widely available software package) supported the proposed model. Trust in an organization was found to have a stronger effect on employees' turnover intention than trust in a supervisor. The role of subordinate–supervisor guanxi at work in Chinese joint venture is examined and discussed. The findings of the present study provide practical implications for managing Chinese employees in joint ventures.



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Wong, Y. T., Wong, S. H., & Wong, Y. W. (2010). A study of subordinate-supervisor guanxi in Chinese joint ventures. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(12), 2142-2155. doi: 10.1080/09585192.2010.509621