East meets West : effects of justice on employees' commitment within the context of international joint ventures in China

Yui Tim, Edward WONG

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The studies of organisational commitment (Lavelle et al., 2009; Martin, 2008; Shore et al., 2008) and justice (Liao and Rupp, 2005; Walumbwa et al., 2008) are important today. Recent studies show that different types of justices have significant impacts on commitment (DeConinck and Stilwell, 2004; Liao and Rupp, 2005; Walumbwa et at., 2008). However, the preponderance of past researches on commitment and justice has focused on Western samples. This is a limitation, because these studies only show the conditions in countries with greater future orientation (e.g. U.S.A. and U. K.), but not for countries with greater future orientation (e.g. China and Russia). Cultural future orientation is the degree to which a collectivity encourages and rewards future-oriented behaviours such as planning and delaying gratification (House et al., 1999). Hence, the generalizability of these findings to other parts of the world is in question, and more cross-cultural studies in this area of research are needed. In view of its unique cultural traditions (Earley, 1989) and sweeping economic reform (Warner, 1993) during the past two decades, China provides an ideal research setting for studying commitment and justice in international joint ventures. Because human resources management in China is at the crossroads, as it encounters ‘a fast-changing environment’ (Warner, 2009). The studies of commitment in China are important. For instance, the study of Yu and Egri (2005) reveals the importance of human resource management practices in creating effective organizational commitment in international joint venture (IJVs) and state-owned enterprise (SOEs) in China. According to this research report, World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership has increased China’s necessity to be globally competitive (Goldsmith, 2006). Researchers have studied different types of commitment (Gong and Chang, 2008; Wong and Lui, 2007; Wong et al. 2006) and justice (Chen et al., 2002; Leung et al., 1996; Wong et al., 2002) separately in the context of China. However, there is a lack of research in studying the casual relationships between different types of justice and commitment in China. Due to the rapid changes in China, it is meaningful to have further study about the effect of employees’ perception of justice on their commitment in different Chinese enterprises today. This research in the Chinese context with both IJV and SOE will fill this research gap and contribute to the existing literature. It includes both organization with greater future orientation (e.g. IJVs) and the organization with lower future orientation (e.g. SOEs). The main purpose of this study is to explore the relationships of justice and commitment among Chinese employees working in IJVs today, and the conditions of employees in reformed SOEs will be used for comparison. In this study, distributive justices and procedural justice are considered as antecedents of affective commitment, and interactional justice is considered as antecedent of commitment to supervisor. Additionally, the model further suggests that affective commitment will affect employees’ turnover intention and organizational citizenship behavior; and commitment to supervisor will affect employees’ organizational citizenship behavior. A data set consisting of 247 employees in two international joint ventures and 253 employees in two state-owned enterprises in Shanghai and Southern China are used to test the hypotheses empirically.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWork and organisational psychology (Volume V) : Emerging trends : Innovation/Globalisation/Technology
EditorsGregory J. BOYLE, John G. O'GORMAN, Gerard J. FOGARTY
Place of PublicationLos Angeles
PublisherSage Reference
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781473916715
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Also published in Asia-Pacific Journal of Management Research and Innovation, VII(1)(2011): 5-19.


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