Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 541–551

Workplace Guanxi: Its Dispositional Antecedents and Mediating Role in the Affectivity–Job Satisfaction Relationship

Article

Abstract

This paper examines dispositional sources of workplace guanxi and the mediating role of workplace guanxi on the affectivity and job satisfaction relationship. Data were collected from 808 respondents in multiple industries in a city in China’s northeast. The study found that both positive affectivity and negative affectivity have an effect on supervisor–subordinate guanxi and co-worker guanxi, which supports the proposition that workplace guanxi has a dispositional source. Supervisor–subordinate guanxi has a positive relationship with job satisfaction, although co-worker guanxi is not significantly related to job satisfaction. The research also found a mediating role of supervisor–subordinate guanxi on the affectivity and job satisfaction relationship, which suggests that supervisor–subordinate guanxi can extend the influence of affectivity to job satisfaction. Taken together, these results suggest that in a high power distance country such as China, supervisor–subordinate guanxi plays a more important role than co-worker guanxi in influencing job satisfaction. Theoretically, this study suggests the as yet unexplored possibility of dispositional antecedents of workplace guanxi and the role of workplace guanxi on the relationship between dispositions and workplace attitudes such as job satisfaction.

Keywords

Supervisor–subordinate guanxi Co-worker guanxi Job satisfaction Negative affectivity Positive affectivity 

References

  1. Agho, A. O., Price, J. L., & Mueller, C. W. (1992). Discriminant validity of measures of job satisfaction, positive affectivity and negative affectivity. Journal of Occupation and Organizational Psychology, 65, 185–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator mediator variable distinction in social psychological-research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bedford, O. (2011). Guanxi-building in the workplace: A dynamic process model of working and backdoor guanxi. Journal of Business Ethics, 104(1), 149–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brislin, R. (1993). Understanding culture’s influence on behavior. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  5. Bruk-Lee, V., Khoury, H. A., Nixon, A. E., Goh, A., & Spector, P. E. (2009). Replicating and extending past personality/job satisfaction meta-analyses. Human Performance, 22(2), 156–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Byrne, B. M. (2001). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  7. Chan, K., & Wyatt, T. A. (2007). Quality of work life: A study of employees in Shanghai, China. Asia Pacific Business Review, 13(4), 501–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chang, S. (2010). From the editors: Common method variance in international business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 61, 178–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen, X.-P., & Chen, C. C. (2004). On the Intricacies of the Chinese Guanxi: A process model of Guanxi development. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 21(3), 305–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, H., Ford, D. L., Kalyanaram, G., & Bhagat, R. S. (2012). Boundary conditions for turnover intentions: Exploratory evidence from China, Jordan, Turkey, and the United States. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(3), 846–866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen, Y., Friedman, R., Yu, E. H., Fang, W. H., & Lu, X. P. (2009). Supervisor–subordinate guanxi: Developing a three-dimensional model and scale. Management and Organization Review, 5(3), 375–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen, X.-P., & Peng, S. (2008). Guanxi dynamics: Shifts in the closeness of ties between Chinese coworkers. Management and Organization Review, 4(1), 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chen, Y. F., & Tjosvold, D. (2006). Participative leadership by American and Chinese managers in china: The role of relationships. Journal of Management Studies, 43(8), 1727–1752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cheung, M. F. Y., & Wu, W-p. (2012). Leader-member exchange and employee work outcomes in Chinese firms: The mediating role of job satisfaction. Asia Pacific Business Review, 18(1), 65–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cheung, M., Wu, W.-P., Chan, A., & Wong, M. (2009). Supervisor and subordinate guanxi and employee work outcomes: The mediating role of job satisfaction. Journal of Business Ethics, 88, 77–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chiu, R. K., & Francesco, A. M. (2003). Dispositional traits and turnover intention. International Journal of Manpower, 24(3), 284–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cohrs, C., Abele, A. E., & Delle, D. E. (2006). Integrating situational and dispositional determinants of job satisfaction: Findings for three samples of professionals. Journal of Psychology, 140(4), 363–395.Google Scholar
  18. Farh, J. L., Tsui, A. S., Xin, K., & Cheng, B. S. (1998). The influence of relational demography and guanxi: The Chinese case. Organization Science, 9(4), 471–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fields, D. L. (2002). Taking the measure of work—a guide to validated scales for organizational research and diagnosis. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Gu, Y., & Peng, J. (2007). The impact of dispositional affect on job satisfaction: A research based on the circumstances of China. Nankai Business Review, 3, 102–107. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  21. Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatbam, R. L. (2006). Multivariate data analysis (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  22. Harris, M. M., & Schaubroeck, J. (1990). Confirmatory modeling in organizational behavior/human resource management: Issues and applications. Journal of Management, 16, 337–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hou, D., & Liu, X. (2009). Effects of dispositional affect on job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior. Management Review, 9, 48–54 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  24. Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., & Locke, E. A. (2000). Personality and job satisfaction: The mediating role of job characteristics. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(2), 237–240.Google Scholar
  25. Law, K. S., Wong, C.-S., Wang, D., & Wang, L. (2000). Effect of supervisor–subordinate guanxi on supervisory decisions in China: An empirical investigation. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 11(4), 751–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lee, D. Y., & Dawes, P. L. (2005). Guanxi, trust, and long-term orientation in Chinese business markets. Journal of International Marketing, 13(2), 28–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Leung, T. K. P., Heung, V. C. S., & Wong, Y. H. (2008). One possible consequence of guanxi for an insider: How to obtain and maintain it? European Journal of Marketing, 42(1/2), 23–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lin, L.-H. (2011). Cultural and organizational antecedents of guanxi: The Chinese cases. Journal of Business Ethics, 99(3), 441–451.Google Scholar
  29. Lin, L.-H., & Ho, Y.-L. (2010). Guanxi and OCB: The Chinese cases. Journal of Business Ethics, 96(2), 285–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Locke, E. A. (1976). The nature and causes of job satisfaction. In M. D. Dunnette (Ed.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 1297–1349). Chicago: Rand Mcnally.Google Scholar
  31. MacKinnon, D. P., & Fairchild, A. J. (2009). Current directions in mediation analysis. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18(1), 16–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. MacKinnon, D. P., & Fritz, M. S. (2007). Distribution of the product confidence limits for the indirect effect: Program PRODCLIN. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 384–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. MacKinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., & Williams, J. (2004). Confidence limits for the indirect effect. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 39(1), 99–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Martin, P. (2002). Individual and social resources predicting well-being and functioning in the later years: Conceptual models, research, and practice. Aging International, 27, 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ng, T. W. H., & Sorensen, K. L. (2009). Dispositional affectivity and work-related outcomes: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39(6), 1255–1287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J. Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Smyth, R., Nielsen, I., & Zhai, Q. (2010). Personal well-being in urban China. Social Indicators Research, 95(2), 231–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Spector, P. E. (1994). Using self-report questionnaires in OB research: A comment on the use of a controversial method. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15(5), 385–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Staw, B. M., & Cohen-Charash, Y. (2005). The dispositional approach to job satisfaction: More than a mirage, but not yet an oasis. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26, 59–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sun, L.-Y., & Pan, W. (2008). HR practices perceptions, emotional exhaustion, and work outcomes: A conservation-of-resources theory in the Chinese context. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 19(1), 55–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Thompson, E. R. (2007). Development and validation of an internationally reliable short-form of the positive and negative affect schedule (PANAS). Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38(2), 227–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Thoresen, C. J., Kaplan, S. A., Barsky, A. P., Warren, C. R., & de Chermont, K. (2003). The affective underpinnings of job perceptions and attitudes: A meta-analytic review and integration. Psychological Bulletin, 129(6), 914–945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tsui, A. S., & Farh, J.-L. L. (1997). Where guanxi matters: Relational demography and guanxi in the Chinese context. Work & Occupations, 24(1), 56–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wang, L., Li, Z., Liu, H., & Du, W. (2007). Factor structure of general dimension scales of PANAS-X in Chinese people. Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology, 15(6), 565–568. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  45. Wang, J., & Murphy, P. (2010). In the office vs. outside the office: Supervisor–subordinate guanxi maintenance among Chinese and Western managers in China. Chinese Journal of Communication, 3(2), 147–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Watson, D. (1988). The vicissitudes of mood measurement: Effects of varying descriptors, time frames, and response formats on measures of positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55(1), 128–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Watson, D. (2000). Mood and temperament. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  48. Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1984). Negative affectivity: The disposition to experience aversive emotional states. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 465–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wei, L., Liu, J., Chen, Y., & Wu, L. (2010). Political skill, supervisor–subordinate guanxi and career prospects in Chinese firms. Journal of Management Studies, 47(3), 437–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wong, Y. H., & Leung, T. K. P. (2001). Guanxi relationship marketing in a Chinese context. New York: International Business Press.Google Scholar
  51. Wong, Y., Ngo, H., & Wong, C. (2003). Antecedents and outcomes of employees’ trust in Chinese joint ventures. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 20(4), 481–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wong, Y.-T., Wong, S.-H., & Wong, Y.-W. (2010). A study of subordinate–supervisor guanxi in Chinese joint ventures. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(12), 2142–2155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Yang, M. M. (1994). Gifts, favors, and banquets: The art of social relationship in China. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Yen, D. A., Barnes, B. R., & Wang, C. L. (2011). The measurement of guanxi: Introducing the GRX scale. Industrial Marketing Management, 40(1), 97–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zhang, W., Diao, J., & Schick, C. J. (2004). The cross-cultural measurement of positive and negative affect examining the dimensionality of PANAS. Psychological Science, 27(1), 77–79.Google Scholar
  56. Zhang, X., Yang, L., Xu, X., & Che, H. (2006). The mechanism of the effect of NA on work stress. Psychological Science, 29(4), 967–969. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  57. Zhang, M., & Zhang, D. (2003). Research on the determinants of employee turnover intention in IT industry. China Social Science, 5, 76–80. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  58. Zhang, M., Zhang, D., & Li, S. (2003). An empirical study on a path model of employee turnover intentions among technical staff in IT enterprises. Nankai Business Review, 4, 12–20. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  59. Zhang, Z., & Zhao, S. (2007). Empirical study on the determinants of intellectuals turnover to other regions: A study on the north Jiangshu. Management World, 8, 95–103. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  60. Zhang, J., & Zheng, W. (2009). How does satisfaction translate into performance? An examination of commitment and cultural values. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 20(3), 331–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Business SchoolUniversity of BallaratMt. HelenAustralia
  2. 2.Management DepartmentMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  3. 3.Management DepartmentMonash UniversityCaulfieldAustralia

Personalised recommendations