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Suzhi: an indigenous criterion for human resource management in China

Liguo Xu (School of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China)
Pinging Fu (Department of Management, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Youmin Xi (School of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China, and Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China)

Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management

ISSN: 2040-8005

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize the indigenous concept of suzhi at individual and organizational levels, and identify its dimensions for human resource management (HRM) research and practice in China.


Based on a comprehensive review of suzhi literature, Chinese cultural and historical literature, as well as Western mainstream HRM research, a multidimensional suzhi framework is conceptualized.


As an indigenous expression, suzhi can be and has been adopted for Chinese HRM research and practice. As a multidimensional construct, one’s cognitive suzhi is jointly determined by corresponding moral suzhi, wenhua (knowledge-based) suzhi and zhuanye (professional) suzhi. Cognitive suzhi, in turn, determines one’s behavioral suzhi that drives employees to enhance organizational performance, and this relationship is moderated by psychological suzhi.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed framework provides new insight for Chinese indigenous management research, particularly in developing suzhi measurement for different dimensions. It also informs HRM practices in recruiting, selection, performance analysis and employee career development.


The complexity of suzhi dimensions from an organizational HRM perspective is analyzed. The resulting suzhi framework offers new insight for HRM research and practices in China.



The paper was part of two projects that were funded by the National Science Foundation of China (71032002, 71232014).


Xu, L., Fu, P. and Xi, Y. (2014), "Suzhi: an indigenous criterion for human resource management in China", Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 129-143.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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