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Political Skill, Supervisor-Subordinate "Guanxi" and Career Prospects in Chinese Firms


  • Li-Qun Wei
  • Jun Liu
  • Yuan-Yi Chen
  • Long-Zeng Wu


The role of political skill was examined in the dynamics of supervisor-subordinate relationship in Chinese firms. Data from a survey of 343 employees, their 343 direct supervisors, and 662 of their peers were applied to test a model proposing that Chinese subordinates employ political skill to influence their "guanxi" with their supervisors, and so promote their career development. We found that supervisor-subordinate "guanxi" mediated the relationship between political skill and career development of the subordinates. Implications of the findings were discussed. Copyright (c) 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Li-Qun Wei & Jun Liu & Yuan-Yi Chen & Long-Zeng Wu, 2010. "Political Skill, Supervisor-Subordinate "Guanxi" and Career Prospects in Chinese Firms," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 437-454, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:47:y:2010:i:3:p:437-454

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Yi Feng Chen & Dean Tjosvold, 2006. "Participative Leadership by American and Chinese Managers in China: The Role of Relationships," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(8), pages 1727-1752, December.
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    4. Hui, Chun & Law, Kenneth S. & Chen, Zhen Xiong, 1999. "A Structural Equation Model of the Effects of Negative Affectivity, Leader-Member Exchange, and Perceived Job Mobility on In-role and Extra-role Performance: A Chinese Case," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 3-21, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jie Li & Gong Sun & Zhiming Cheng, 2017. "The Influence of Political Skill on Salespersons’ Work Outcomes: A Resource Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 551-562, March.
    2. Long-Zeng Wu & Ho Kwong Kwan & Li-Qun Wei & Jun Liu, 2013. "Ingratiation in the Workplace: The Role of Subordinate and Supervisor Political Skill," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(6), pages 991-1017, September.
    3. Qingguo Zhai & Margaret Lindorff & Brian Cooper, 2013. "Workplace Guanxi: Its Dispositional Antecedents and Mediating Role in the Affectivity–Job Satisfaction Relationship," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 541-551, October.
    4. Yidong Tu & Xinxin Lu, 2016. "Work-to-Life Spillover Effect of Leader–Member Exchange in Groups: The Moderating Role of Group Power Distance and Employee Political Skill," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 1873-1889, October.
    5. Long Zhang & Yulin Deng, 2016. "Guanxi with Supervisor and Counterproductive Work Behavior: The Mediating Role of Job Satisfaction," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 413-427, March.
    6. Yong Han & Zhenglong Peng & Yi Zhu, 2012. "Supervisor–Subordinate Guanxi and Trust in Supervisor: A Qualitative Inquiry in the People’s Republic of China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 108(3), pages 313-324, July.
    7. Boris Bauke & Thorsten Semrau & Zheng Han, 2016. "Relational trust and new ventures’ performance: the moderating impact of national-level institutional weakness," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 1007-1024, December.
    8. Long Zhang & Yulin Deng & Qun Wang, 2014. "An Exploratory Study of Chinese Motives for Building Supervisor–Subordinate Guanxi," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 124(4), pages 659-675, November.
    9. Long Zhang & Yulin Deng & Xin Zhang & Enhua Hu, 2016. "Why do Chinese employees build supervisor-subordinate guanxi? A motivational analysis," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 617-648, September.
    10. Jun Liu & Chun Hui & Cynthia Lee & Zhen Xiong Chen, 2013. "Why Do I Feel Valued and Why Do I Contribute? A Relational Approach to Employee's Organization-Based Self-Esteem and Job Performance," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(6), pages 1018-1040, September.

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