Workplace guanxi and employee commitment to supervisor in Chinese international joint ventures

Yui-Tim WONG, Yui-Woon WONG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – In this study, the authors aim to investigate the impact of workplace guanxi on employees' commitment to supervisor in relation to other critical HRM outcome variables in Chinese international joint ventures (IJVs).

Design/methodology/approach – The dataset used in this study consists of 255 employees and their 86 direct supervisors in two IJVs in China. The authors adopted LISREL to test a proposed model and investigate the following relationships: subordinate‐supervisor guanxi as an antecedent of commitment to supervisor and organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB), job security as an antecedent of affective commitment, and their impact on employee turnover intention.

Findings – The empirical results show that subordinate‐supervisor workplace guanxi has positive and significant effect on commitment to supervisor, whereas commitment to supervisor has positive and significant effect on affective commitment and organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) of employees. Such relationships further lead to reduced employee turnover intention.

Research limitations/implications – This study reveals the significance of workplace guanxi and commitment to supervisor and their impact on other important HRM outcome variables in Chinese IJV employees. It contributes to the literature by offering insight on how Chinese guanxi culture interacts with other HRM variables in IJVs and informs future research in relation to leader‐member exchange in the Chinese context.

Practical implications – By establishing a healthy workplace guanxi with employees, supervisors can play a critical role in achieving desired organization outcomes such as improving affective commitment and reducing turnover.

Originality/value – Existing research shows that guanxi is a multi‐dimensional construct and critical for Chinese HRM research. This study examines the dimension of workplace guanxi and investigates the impact of subordinate‐supervisor guanxi on commitment to supervisor and other HRM outcome variables in IJVs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-57
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Chinese Human Resources Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Workplace guanxi
  • Affective commitment
  • Chinese international joint ventures
  • Commitment to supervisor
  • Turnover intention
  • Job commitment
  • Workplace
  • China


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