Are guanxi-type supervisor-subordinate relationships culture-general? An eight-nation test of measurement invariance

Peter B. Smith, S. Arzu Wasti, Lusine Grigoryan, Mustafa Achoui, Olwen Bedford, Pawan Budhwar, Nadezhda Lebedeva, Chan Hoong Leong, Claudio Torres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three dimensions of subordinate-supervisor relations (affective attachment, deference to supervisor, and personal-life inclusion) that had been found by Y. Chen, Friedman, Yu, Fang, and Lu to be characteristic of a guanxi relationship between subordinates and their supervisors in China were surveyed in Taiwan, Singapore, and six non-Chinese cultural contexts. The Affective Attachment and Deference subscales demonstrated full metric invariance whereas the Personal-Life Inclusion subscale was found to have partial metric invariance across all eight samples. Structural equation modeling revealed that the affective attachment dimension had a cross-nationally invariant positive relationship to affective organizational commitment and a negative relationship to turnover intention. The deference to the supervisor dimension had invariant positive relationships with both affective and normative organizational commitment. The personal-life inclusion dimension was unrelated to all outcomes. These results indicate the relevance of aspects of guanxi to superior-subordinate relations in non-Chinese cultures. Studies of indigenous concepts can contribute to a broader understanding of organizational behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-938
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number6
Early online date30 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2014


  • organizational commitment
  • guanxi
  • measurement invariance
  • subordinate–supervisor relations
  • turnover intention


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