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An exploratory study of leader-member exchange in China, and the role of Guanxi in the LMX process

By Gwenda Latham


This thesis investigated how guanxi was related to exchange relationships between supervisors and subordinates in China. Since guanxi is a relationship-based phenomenon and extends into all levels and domains of Chinese society, it was argued that it would be associated with the relationships that were established between supervisors and subordinates. This thesis used a model of both 'supervisors and subordinates' perspectives of leader member exchange (LMX) and the impact of guanxi on those relationships. The thesis replicated some established relationships, and then added to the literature by providing an elaboration of how guanxi is related to LMX through its different dimensions. A multi-dimensional approach to LMX and a differential behaviours approach to guanxi were used to test hypotheses. In order to establish guanxi's influence on leadership relations in China, this thesis used LMX as the dependent variable, which was measured using the multi-dimensional LMX-MDM scale. The thesis first tested the variables of perceived similarity, perceived liking and perceived subordinate performance as antecedents of LMX, since previous research in western countries had found them to be predictors of LMX (Engle & Lord 1997; Kacmar et al. 2009; Liden et al. 1993). Guanxi was introduced as a moderating variable, since it was hypothesized that it would influence the relationships between the three predictor variables and LMX-MDM

Year: 2012
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