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Harmony as means to enhance affective commitment in a Chinese organization

Tachia Chin (School of English for International Business, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, PR China)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Article publication date: 29 July 2014



Identifying the in-built art-based, multi-dimensionally dynamic nature of the Chinese notion of harmony from the philosophical perspective of Yijing, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the mechanisms among the degree of harmony, employee affective commitment (AC) and compliance behavior at workplace in China.


This paper follows an empirical research design. To reduce extraneous sources of variation and measurement error, this study constrained the sample collection to full-time employees in manufacturing. Regression analysis was used to examine the hypotheses.


Results show that the degree of harmony is positively related to AC and compliance behavior. Findings also confirm the mediation effect of AC on the relationship between the degree of harmony and employee compliance behavior.

Practical implications

The research suggests that firms in China may exploit boosting the degree of harmony in organizations as an effective means to enhance employee AC to and compliance with their employers. It enables non-Chinese managers to gain a better understanding of the importance of creating harmonious environment for Chinese employees.


This study demonstrates the East-West cultural differences on the notion of harmony (art-based vs science-based views), investigating HR-related issues in China through a newer and broader lens, namely a revolutionary view of “East-West” integrative thinking. Using the model decoded by Yijing's eight trigrams to measure organizational harmony, this paper proposes a novel framework illustrating the relationships between a unique Chinese cultural variable (harmony) and two well-established Western measures (AC and compliance behavior), in response to the recent call for analyzing context-specific implications to develop new context-sensitive theories in HRM.



The author gratefully acknowledge the constructive comments from Professor Geert Hofstede, Professor David Teece, Professor Tian-ji Huang and Professor Jianhua Huang on the earlier version of this paper presented at the 2011 AIBSEAR conference. The author would also like to thank Editor Simon Dolan and three anonymous reviewers for their help in improving this research.


Chin, T. (2014), "Harmony as means to enhance affective commitment in a Chinese organization", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 326-344.



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