Chinese traditionality, job attitudes, and job performance: a study of Chinese employees

Date07 August 2017
Publication Date07 August 2017
AuthorHui Li,Hang-yue Ngo
SubjectHR & organizational behaviour,Global HRM
Chinese traditionality, job
attitudes, and job performance:
a study of Chinese employees
Hui Li and Hang-yue Ngo
Department of Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Purpose The purposeof this paper is to explore the relationshipsamong Chinese traditionality, job attitudes,
and job performance.Chinese traditionality,an indigenous cultural variable,is expected to enhance employees
organizationalcommitment and job satisfaction, which in turn affect theirjob performance.
Design/methodology/approach Data were collected via employee survey from 399 workers in two large
firms in China. The HR department helped the authors to distribute a self-administered questionnaire to the
respondents. The authors assured them of confidentiality and protected their anonymity. Multiple regression
analysis was used to test the hypotheses.
Findings The results show that Chinese traditionality is positively related to organizational commitment
and job satisfaction. The authors also find that the positive effect of Chinese traditionality on employees
job performance is mediated by organizational commitment, but not by job satisfaction.
Practical implications Based on the findings, Chinese firms should pay attention to cultural values,
which play an important role in affecting employeesjob attitudes and performance.
Originality/value This study contributes to the literature in two ways. First, it provides evidence
about the significant positive effect of Chinese traditionality on organizational commitment and job
attitudes. Second, it reveals a key mechanism through which Chinese traditionality enhances employees
job performance.
Keywords Chinese traditionality, Job satisfaction, Organizational commitment, Job performance
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
The impacts of cultural values on employeesperceptions, motivation, attitudes, and
behaviors have been well documented in the business and management literature (Kirkman
and Shapiro, 2001; Ng et al., 2009; Wang et al., 2002). Among various cultural values, the
construct of Chinese traditionality has attracted increasing research attention during
the last two decades, particularly in the Asian context (Liu et al., 2012; Pillutla et al., 2007;
Wang et al., 2014). Previous studies have shown that this construct plays a significant role in
affecting workplace dynamics (Chen and Aryee, 2007; Farh et al., 2007; Li and Qi, 2015;
Zhao, 2014). It may also have some important implications for human resource management.
According to Yang (2003, p. 265), Chinese traditionality refers to the typical pattern of
more or less related motivational, evaluative, attitudinal and temperamental traits that is
most frequently observed in people in traditional Chinese society and can still be found in
people in contemporary Chinese societies.In a culture characterized by Chinese
traditionality, people typically emphasize respect for authority, filial piety, ancestor
worship, male dominance, fatalism, conservatism, and endurance (Yang et al., 1989).
Given these tendencies, workers who are high in traditionality are likely to display
some unique job attitudes and behaviors (Hui et al., 2007; Ngo and Li, 2015). Additionally,
their in-role and extra-role performance may also be influenced by this cultural value
(Farh et al., 2007; Zhang et al., 2014).
In the present study, we attempt to examine the relationships among Chinese traditionality,
organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and job performance. Most of the previous studies
consider Chinese traditionality as a moderator that affects the impacts of work and
employment conditionson employeesjob attitudes and behaviors (e.g. Chen and Aryee, 2007;
Evidence-based HRM: a Global
Forum for Empirical Scholarship
Vol. 5 No. 2, 2017
pp. 139-150
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/EBHRM-08-2015-0035
Received 24 August 2015
Revised 16 December 2015
20 March 2016
25 May 2016
Accepted 28 May 2016
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