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Effects of Relationship Values and Goal Interdependence on Guanxi Between Foreign Managers and Chinese Employees1


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    The authors thank their research assistants from Lingnan (University) College at Sun Yat-Sen University for their able assistance in conducting this study. They also appreciate the financial support of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, RGC Grant Project No. LU (LU3404/05H) to the second author.

Nancy Chen Yi-Feng, Management Department, Lingnan University, Hong Kong. E-mail:


Foreign managers are advised to develop effective relationships with Chinese employees who as collectivists are thought to value relationships, particularly guanxi, with their leaders. However, foreign managers typically do not have the background and prior experiences typically used to develop guanxi in China. In an experiment with 120 participants in South China, Chinese employees with foreign managers who communicated that they wanted a relationship (compared to no relationship) with them concluded that they interacted better and had little relational and task conflict. Chinese employees who discussed their views within a cooperative (compared to competitive) context helped their leader, productively integrated their diverse views into the decision, and concluded that they had little relational and task conflict.

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