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Employees suffer representational predicaments if they feel that they bear invisible burdens and/or make invisible contributions. This feeling implies a belief that dominant authorities in the organization are embracing unfavourable prevai1ing images of employees (PIEs) that are incongruent with salient work-life space domains. Qualitative interviews at an insurance agency branch and an on-line database provider indicated embedded human resource values characterized by aggressive instrumentality, small circle and top down govemance, and expectations of employee deference and silence. These values reflected the

Hong Kong human resource govemance environment: absence of labour rights and protections, and cultural assumptions of large power distance, high masculinity and networkorientation. Our grounded model proposes that these antecedents led to representational climates that were not characterized by high-fidelity meritocracy, in tum exposing employees to the risk of representational predicaments. Individuals' compatibility with embedded values and their relational proximity to dominant authorities appeared to reduce this risk, while proximal appreciation/support and diligent beliefs appeared to offset distress arising 企om representational predicaments. At a third site, the administrative side of a tertiary education institute, dominant authorities' non-conformist values and best practice open govemance benchmarking appeared to moderate the impact of the Hong Kong human resource govemance environment, leading to relatively high-fidelity meritocracy and less risk of representational predicaments.


HKIBS Working Paper Series 060-045

Recommended Citation

Snell, R. S., & Wong, M. M. L. (2005). Antecedents, moderators and examples of representational predicaments at three Hong Kong sites (HKIBS Working Paper Series 060-045). Retrieved from Lingnan University website:

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