Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Going beyond traditional inquiry into social support from local organizational constituents, this project examined how diverse resources from mutually affiliated contacts within and beyond local work environs boost propensity to stay in firms. We deployed Burt’s (1992) name generator and network closure index to more fully assess guanxi networks in China, which comprise strong, dense, and multiplex ties. Specifically, we tested how closed guanxi networks promote job loyalty among Chinese nationals, while investigating how high-commitment human resource management (HRM) systems moderate network effects. We collected egonet data from 417 employees in four high tech firms in China. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that guanxi network closure increases propensity to stay, whose effects high-commitment HRM reinforce.
In July 2008, SAP China fired three vice presidents who had openly questioned proposed personnel appointments in their sales meeting, where the new general manager from IBM, Zhang Liesheng, announced a plan to reengineer the organizational structure and processes at SAP China. This reorganization involved appointing four new vice presidents and redefining the positions of two current vice presidents. Two of the positions of the three fired vice presidents were redefined; the third one who was fired was the first person who challenged the personnel changes. There were two different cultures at SAP: a product-oriented German culture and a market-oriented U.S. culture. Although SAP China had adhered to the German style for a long time, the German general manager left and the successor advocated the U.S. style. Consequently, SAP China proposed aggressive growth target, which was opposed by the German-style veterans including the three fired vice presidents. Trouble ensued. This case addresses organizational and cultural management, personnel management, and other issues.
Top Management Team (TMT)
In this paper, we bring structural holes theory to different cultural contexts by studying the effect of structural holes in four high-tech companies in China and assessing whether they confer the benefits to individuals occupying the brokering position in a career network that have been found in Western contexts. On the level of national culture, we propose that the typical collectivistic culture of China will dampen the effects of structural holes. On the organizational level, we propose that in organizations that foster a high-commitment culture—a culture that emphasizes mutual investment between people—the control benefits of structural holes are dissonant with the dominant spirit of cooperation, and the information benefits of structural holes cannot materialize due to the communal-sharing values in such organizations. Empirical results of network surveys confirm our hypotheses, and interview data add depth to our explanations. Brokers do not fit with the collectivistic values of China. Further, the more an organization possesses a clan-like, high-commitment culture, the more detrimental are structural holes for employees' career achievements such as salary or bonus, even after controlling for a host of other factors that may influence these career outcomes. In high commitment organizations, the “integrators” who bring people together to fill structural holes enjoy greater career benefits.
In this paper we introduce the concept of ‘polycontextuality,’ which refers to multiple and qualitatively different contexts embedded within one another. We distinguish polycontextuality from the singularly contextual types of description typically provided by social scientists, and use the case of China to elucidate polycontextual phenomena. Polycontextuality can include verbal‐ and non‐verbal nuances whose understanding is rooted in local, cognitive, emotional and even spiritual references – most of which cannot be easily observed or historically studied. For this reason we recommend the polycontexual sensitive research method to supplement the scientific deductive research typically designed to study observable phenomena based on a singular context (e.g. verbal) that are controllable by the researcher's stimuli and/or measures. Actions for increasing scholars' polycontextual sensitivity are suggested, and guidelines for the scholar interested in doing high quality indigenous research are offered, using the case of China for illustrative purposes.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
This research investigates an understudied decision heuristic, the majority rule. By using the rule, decision makers choose the option superior on most of the available cues. Cues are broadly defined, including advisors and attributes. We propose that decision makers are more likely to use the majority rule when encouraged to employ intra-cue comparison as opposed to intra-option integration, and that their choices are influenced by factors that influence which option appears majority superior. We corroborate the two propositions in four studies. In Studies 1 and 2, we explore two factors that moderate use of the majority rule through facilitating intra-cue comparison or intra-option integration—response mode and information display format. In Studies 3 and 4, we explore two factors that influence choice through influencing which option appears majority-superior—cue-unpacking and cue-regrouping.
Multi-attribute decision making
The majority rule
The concept of a high commitment work system (HCWS) has mostly been used in the West to study the relationship between a firm's work systems and organizational performance. In this paper, we introduce a preliminary measure of HCWS in China based on the definition of Baron and Kreps (1999). In study 1, we tested the measure by surveying 442 employees in China's information technology (IT) industry. In study 2, we re‐tested the same measure from the perspective of human resource (HR) executives in 126 foreign‐invested companies. The analyses not only provided some evidence for the construct validity of this preliminary measure of a high commitment work system, but also produced some interesting results that can only be understood with regards to the history and institutional backgrounds of Chinese organizations.
Current Directions in Psychological Science
We examine three determinants of the relationship between the magnitude of a stimulus and a persons subjective "value" of that stimulus: the process by which value is assessed (either by feeling or by calculation), the evaluability of the relevant magnitude variable (whether the desirability of a given level of that variable can be evaluated independently), and the mode of evaluation (whether stimuli are encountered and evaluated jointly or separately). Reliance on feeling, lack of evaluability, and separate evaluation lead to insensitivity to magnitude. An analysis invoking these factors provides a novel account for why people typically become less sensitive to changes in the magnitude of a stimulus as magnitude increases.