Three Essays on Leader-Member Exchange in U.S. and China
This dissertation consists of three essays that focus on leader-member exchange (LMX) in the U.S. and China. In the first essay, I use the current LMX theory to examine whether LMX differentiation functions differently in U.S. and China. Based on a sample of 125 work teams in the People¡¯s Republic of China and the United States, I found that, while high LMX differentiation can be beneficial to American teams, increasing team performance, it is detrimental to Chinese teams, lowering individual performance and OCBs. Team collectivism fully accounts for these different relationships between LMX differentiation and individual and group performance in the U.S. and China. In the second essay, I extend the current LMX theory by suggesting that a cross-cultural model of LMX should include both the work-focused elements of exchange that are the core of LMX theory (what I call W-LMX, or Work-LMX) and the social or personal elements of exchange that are the core of guanxi theory (what I call P-LMX, or Personal LMX). I predict that Chinese and Americans will respond differently to W-LMX and P-LMX. In the third essay, using 125 groups and 572 employees in the U.S. and China, I investigate an integrated LMX model that is developed in the second essay. At the individual level, the results of this study show that the relationship between PLMX and job satisfaction is stronger for Chinese employees. At the group level, this study finds that W-LMX differentiation is more damaging for Chinese employees while P-LMX differentiation is more damaging for American employees in terms of their organizational commitment.