Leadership, control at work, supervisor-subordinate guanxi and psychological ownership: A longitudinal study in China
Li, T. (2014). Leadership, control at work, supervisor-subordinate guanxi and psychological ownership: A longitudinal study in China (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8685
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8685
The development of globalization in China has generated a growing number of Western organizations that engage in co-operations, joint ventures, or direct investments in this country. These foreign companies mostly bring their own management styles to China. As a consequence, enterprises are dealing with cultural differences and challenges from different leadership styles. The purpose of this study was to longitudinally test a theoretical model of the relations among leadership, perceived control, personal guanxi and psychological ownership in China with two data collection points separated by a six-month interval (N= 971 at Time 1, N=201 at Time 2), and to examine the relationship between leadership styles (transformational and paternalistic leadership), perceived control, supervisor-subordinate guanxi, and psychological ownership in Chinese work contexts. SPSS and structural equation modelling (SEM) were used to conduct the correlation and mediation analyses, respectively. Findings from this study indicated that perceived control was related to supervisor-subordinate guanxi in the Chinese work context. The results showed Chinese workers had good personal guanxi with their supervisor when they perceived high work control. Perceived control also had stronger mediation effects between Chinese paternalistic leadership and supervisor-subordinate guanxi than between Western transformational leadership and supervisor-subordinate guanxi. Supervisor-subordinate guanxi had significant positive effects on psychological ownership of the job and psychological ownership of the organization. Cross-sectional results showed that supervisor-subordinate guanxi had mediation effects between perceived control and psychological ownership of the job and psychological ownership of the organization, respectively. In contrast, longitudinal analyses did not show similar results. The consequences of psychological ownership of the job and of the organization in the Chinese work context were comparable to findings from previous Western studies. However, this study found high correlations between psychological ownership of the job and of the organization within the Chinese sample. This is slightly different to previous Western studies. Psychological ownership of the job had cross-sectional and longitudinal mediation effects between affective attachment to supervisor and the criterion variables. Psychological ownership of the organization had short-term mediation effects between affective attachment to supervisor and affective organizational commitment, and longitudinally mediated the relationship between affective attachment to supervisor and psychological withdrawal. This research contributes an understanding of how different manager/supervisor behaviours influenced employees’ work attitudes in Chinese organizations. Giving work control to subordinates can strengthen personal guanxi at the work place. Good personal guanxi between supervisor and subordinate can increase subordinates’ feelings of possession toward the job and the organization. The research provides new knowledge about the impact of perceived control, supervisor-subordinate guanxi and psychological ownership in the Chinese work context.
University of Waikato
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