The Moderating Roles of Confucian Values and Gender on Leader–member Relationships: a Multilevel Analysis in the Chinese Hotel Context

Wang, Qi
Kim, BeomCheol
Milne, Simon
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

Inspired by one of the oldest Chinese philosophies, Confucianism, this thesis investigates a well-established concept of leader–member exchange (LMX) in Chinese workplaces from an indigenous perspective, defined as leader–member guanxi (LMG). This study adopts LMX and LMG as two parallel concepts and explores their differences by comparing and contrasting their effect on three key performance indicators that are critical for organisational success and future sustainability in the Chinese hotel industry. To fill in the current gap in the literature of LMX, the research framework is designed to examine how LMX and LMG function in different ways, Confucian values and gender are integrated in the research model as two focal moderators at both individual and group levels. At the individual level, the moderating influences of Confucian values and gender on the causal effects of LMX, LMG and work outcomes are investigated and compared. At the multilevel, LMX differentiation and LMG differentiation in each work group are analysed as group-level LMX/LMG variables. In addition, their effects on employees’ work outcomes are investigated and compared with Confucian values and gender as two cross-level moderators.

This thesis adopts a quantitative approach and is based on a sample of 483 employees and 75 managers from 14 hotels in three cosmopolitan cities in China. Social cognitive learning theory and Confucian philosophy are applied to provide theoretical support for the hypotheses. The findings identify that LMX and LMG have different effects on employees’ work outcomes across multiple levels in the Chinese hotel industry. The findings also offer valuable insights into the way human cognitive learning processes can be affected by gender and collective values, with both theoretical and practical implications.

Leader–member exchange differentiation , Leader–member exchange , Guanxi , Work engagement , Task performance , Organisational citizenship behaviour , Leader–member guanxi , Leader–member guanxi differentiation , Gender , Confucian values
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