Observations on the organizational commitment of Chinese employees: Comparative studies of state-owned enterprises and foreign-invested enterprises

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Although recent research has begun to touch upon the organizational commitment of Chinese employees, most studies have been limited to the transposition of Western methodology to a Chinese context. This paper examines two groups of Chinese employees, those working in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and those working in foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs), and compares the organizational commitment of each group. In order to reflect Chinese characteristics more accurately, the present study used a questionnaire incorporating items drawn from previous Chinese and Western studies. The various multidimensional structures of organizational commitment put forward by both Eastern and Western researchers to date have been re-examined using a sample of 1,232 industrial employees. Results indicate that a five-factor component model, including affective commitment, active continuance commitment, passive continuance commitment, normative commitment and value commitment, fits the data best. The key findings of this study are that SOE employees have higher levels of active continuance commitment and passive continuance commitment, and a lower level of value commitment, than employees of FIEs. It can be inferred from these differences that, in contemplating appropriate measures designed to foster the commitment levels of Chinese employees, management should recognize that the measures required to achieve such a goal will vary according to form of economic ownership (SOEs vs. FIEs). Implications for human resource management in both SOEs and FIEs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-669
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes



  • Chinese employees
  • Foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs)
  • Multidimensional structure
  • Organizational commitment
  • State-owned enterprises (SOEs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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