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How triple-role conflicts of Chinese enterprise trade unions impact employees' satisfaction: rights expectation as moderator

Han Ren (Business School, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)
Charles Weizheng Chen (Xihua University, Chengdu, China) (Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)
Jiuhua Cherrie Zhu (Department of Management, Monash University, Clayton, Australia)
Yuling Chen (Xihua University, Chengdu, China)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 18 September 2020

Issue publication date: 4 February 2021



This paper aims to explore the extent to which unionized employees are dissatisfied in Chinese Enterprise Trade Unions (CETUs) when they perceive high levels of the triple-role conflicts, as well as whether rights expectations will moderate these relationships. The authors define CETUs' triple-role conflicts as the extent to which CETUs and their cadres prioritize fulfilling the roles of preserving social stability (“peace”) and/or maintaining the production order (“production”) over protecting worker's rights and interests (“workers” rights).


Pilot study developed the scales via both qualitative and quantitative studies, which include item generation using the transcript of individual interviews with 36 informants, and exploratory factor analyses with 106 respondents. The study used a sample of 327 employees from more than 20 firms in North and Southwest China.


Results indicate high reliability and validity of the scales and provide largely consistent supports for our hypotheses: three dimensions of triple-role conflicts are negatively related to employees' satisfaction in CETUs, and rights expectations moderate these relationships.


This study developed three scales to respectively measure CETUs' triple-role conflicts, rights expectation and satisfaction in CETUs. More importantly, the findings shed light on the moderating mechanism of rights expectation in the relationships between triple-role conflicts and satisfaction in CETUs.



Funding: This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project No.: 71902123), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Project No.: 2018M643513), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Project No.: skbsh2019-39) and Postdoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Project of Sichuan University.


Ren, H., Chen, C.W., Zhu, J.C. and Chen, Y. (2021), "How triple-role conflicts of Chinese enterprise trade unions impact employees' satisfaction: rights expectation as moderator", Personnel Review, Vol. 50 No. 2, pp. 667-685.



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