University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 18 March 2016 Culture matters. The leader-follower relationship in the Chinese organizational context (Nie)

Start date: Mar 18, 2016 12:00 PM

End date: Mar 18, 2016 03:00 PM

Location: Mattilanniemi, Agora, Delta

Dan Nie

Master of Management Dan Nie defends her doctoral dissertation in Management "Culture matters. The leader-follower relationship in the Chinese organizational context". Opponent Associate Professor Raminta Pučėtaitė (Vilnius University) and custos Professor Anna-Maija Lämsä (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English.

In this dissertation, the dynamics between leader and follower is the focus. This dissertation contributes to knowledge and understanding of the leader-member exchange (LMX) theory in Chinese organizational settings. The research has three aims. The first aim is to increase knowledge and understanding of the LMX theory by contextualizing the theory in the Chinese setting. The second aim is to analyze the connections between LMX, ethical culture of an organization and employee work engagement. Finally, the third aim is to examine the construct validity of the measurement of the ethical culture of an organization, namely Kaptein’s (2008) Corporate Ethical Virtues (CEV) model.

The empirical data came from three different organizations in Mainland China. The results showed that the personal and emotional side of leadership relationships need to be emphasized more strongly in Chinese organizational life than the LMX theory. Further, the ethical organizational culture can have a socializing effect on leader-member relationship and employee work engagement. On one hand, that the ethical culture of an organization is helpful to strengthen leader-follower relationships; alternatively, it showed that the leader-follower relationship plays a positive and significant role in nurturing employees’ work engagement. It is suggested that LMX can be taken as a mediator in the relationship between ethical organizational culture and employee work engagement.

In sum, this study provides a more comprehensive understanding of LMX from the socio-context point of view than previous studies, and a specific ethical and emotional viewpoint are suggested to be worth further consideration and discussion in LMX research and practice in the future.

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Nie, Dan