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Guanxi HRM and employee well-being in China

Li Liu (Taylor's University, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)
Yu Jia (Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 26 June 2020

Issue publication date: 8 June 2021




Drawing on basic psychological needs theory, this paper aims to delineate how an indigenous Chinese concept guanxi HRM would undermine employee well-being in China.


The authors tested this moderated mediation model based on a survey of 321 Chinese employees.


The results are consistent with the hypotheses except for the moderating effect when employee well-being is operationalised as emotional exhaustion.


This study contributes to the literature by investigating the dark side of guanxi via basic psychological needs theory and acknowledging the multidimensionality of employee well-being in the Chinese workplace.



This work was supported by China Scholarship Council (No. 201306990009). The authors are grateful to Prof Jacques Igalens at Université Toulouse 1 Capitole for his advice on the project that led to this paper, and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


Liu, L. and Jia, Y. (2021), "Guanxi HRM and employee well-being in China", Employee Relations, Vol. 43 No. 4, pp. 892-910.



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