Employee responses to employment-relationship practices: The role of psychological empowerment and traditionality

Ann Yan Zhang, Lynda Jiwen Song, Anne S. Tsui, Ping Ping Fu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


In studying the effect of employment-relationship practices on employees, research has largely ignored individual differences, both cross-culturally and within cultures. In this study, the authors examine the moderating effect of middle managers' traditionality, a within-culture value orientation regarding submission to authority and endorsement of hierarchical role relationships, on their responses to an organization's employee-organization relationship practices. Based on social learning and social exchange theories, the authors expect the more traditional middle managers to respond less positively in terms of their performance and commitment to high levels of expected contributions and the associated psychological empowerment but respond more positively to high levels of offered inducements. Using a sample of 535 middle managers from 40 companies in China, the authors find support for all hypotheses except the moderating effect of traditionality on the relationship between offered inducements and performance. Additional analysis reveals that less-traditional managers responded to economic rewards (but not developmental rewards) with higher job performance. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for research and the practice of employment relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-830
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Employee performance
  • Employment relationship
  • Organizational commitment
  • Psychological empowerment
  • Traditionality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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