This study looked at whether workers could develop more balanced working relationships with either Chinese or American managers and therefore contribute to a more effective working environment.
The research showed that Chinese workers were bolder and more involved in discussions with their managers when they believed that their superiors were co-operative rather than independent or private. But if they felt the managers were independent or more competitive, then the trust relationship (guanxi) was less positive.
Interestingly, having independent goals was more likely to undermine relations between Chinese employees and Chinese managers, whereas it did not seem to have an equally negative effect on relations between Chinese employees and American managers.
The reason may be that the Chinese staff made allowances for the fact that the Americans were from a culture that put more emphasis on the values of privacy and independence.
Participative leadership by American and Chinese managers in China: the
role of relationships
Yi Feng Chen, Dean Tjosfold
Journal of Management Studies, Vol 43 No 8, December 2006