Speaking Up in Chinese Cultural Contexts: The Case of Supervisor-Subordinate Guanxi



Our current knowledge of employee voice (i.e., speaking up with change-oriented suggestions, ideas, and opinions) has largely been developed and tested in Western-oriented cultural contexts, and therefore reflects only one of many cultural perspectives on voice. In this presentation, I demonstrate and discuss how (Chinese) indigenous perspectives can enrich and extend our theories of voice and why this is important. Exemplifying this view, this talk presents the results of a study on supervisor-subordinate guanxi (i.e., Chinese dyadic, particularistic tie) and voice, whereby the indigenous hierarchical and affective facets of supervisor-subordinate guanxi have opposite implications for employee voice, controlling for prototypically Western leader-member exchange. Altogether, by taking a Chinese cultural perspective, this research contributes to an expanded and more nuanced understanding of supervisor-subordinate relationships and voice in general.