Guanxi and high performance work systems in China: Evidence from a state-owned enterprise

Huiping Xian, Carol Atkinson, Yue Meng-Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
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Existing high performance work system (HPWS) research has rarely considered cultural influences. This study investigates the relationships between guanxi, HPWS and employee attitudes in China. A data-set consisting of 226 employees in a Chinese state-owned enterprise in the railway sector was used to test the hypotheses. Using structural equation modelling as an analytical tool, we found that guanxi was positively related to HPWS and trust. Similar to research in the Western context, HPWS was found to be positively related to trust and job satisfaction. Moreover, the results also revealed that HPWS mediated between guanxi and both trust and job satisfaction. Theoretical and practical implications are both discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2685-2704
Number of pages20
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number19
Early online date25 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Chinese cultural values
  • State-owned enterprises
  • guanxi
  • high performance work systems
  • job satisfaction
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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