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Supervisor–Subordinate Guanxi and Job Satisfaction Among Migrant Workers in China


In urban China, improving rural–urban migrant workers’ subjective wellbeing has become an important goal for workplaces and local governments. Drawing from the social capital theory and using original survey data, we examine the relationship between migrant workers’ guanxi (‘personal relations’ in the Chinese context) with their supervisors and their job satisfaction. Our results show that supervisor–subordinate guanxi is positively related to migrant workers’ job satisfaction. This relationship is mediated by network resources and personal power, which serve as their social resources in workplaces. Our study contributes to the positive psychology literature by understanding the role of guanxi in shaping Chinese migrant workers’ job satisfaction. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

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Funding was provided by The Young College Teachers’ Training Scheme of Shanghai (ZZSD15094).

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Correspondence to Gong Sun.

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Li, J., Wang, W., Sun, G. et al. Supervisor–Subordinate Guanxi and Job Satisfaction Among Migrant Workers in China. Soc Indic Res 139, 293–307 (2018).

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  • Supervisor–subordinate guanxi
  • Network resources
  • Personal power
  • Job satisfaction
  • Rural–urban migrants
  • China