Antecedents, moderators and examples of representational predicaments at three Hong Kong sites

Robin Stanley SNELL, May M. L. WONG

Research output: Working paperWorking paper series


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 governance, and expectations of employee deference and silence. These values reflected the

Hong Kong human resource governance environment: absence of labour rights and protections, and cultural assumptions of large power distance, high masculinity and network-orientation. 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 governance benchmarking appeared to moderate the impact of the Hong Kong human resource governance environment, leading to relatively high-fidelity meritocracy and less risk of representational predicaments.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherHong Kong Institute of Business Studies, Lingnan University
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005

Publication series

NameHong Kong Institute of Business Studies Working Paper Series
PublisherLingnan University


  • Representational predicaments
  • Invisibility
  • Values
  • Hong Kong


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