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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Do organizational justice theories generalize cross culturally? : a study within China and a comparison study of Canada and China Shao, Ruodan


Prior research has demonstrated that employees react toward injustice through engaging in sabotage. Most studies on the relationship between injustice and employee sabotage, however, have occurred in North America. It is not known if these findings generalize to other cultural settings. Taking a cross-cultural perspective, I conducted two field studies to (a) examine the role of cultural values and individual difference factors stemming from cultural values and religious beliefs in the link between justice and sabotage (Study 1); (b) explore whether employees in China react differently toward supervisory and customer injustice from employees in North America (Study 2); and (c) to the extent that differences in justice effects exist between countries, examine whether cultural values (e.g., individualism) explain (i.e., mediate) the between-country differences in the injustice-sabotage associations (Study 2). Surveys were administered to 418 front-line employees working in international hotels in China (Study 1) and 203 front-line employees working in one hotel chain in China and Canada (Study 2). Results of Study 1 revealed that the relationship between supervisory justice and sabotage toward supervisor differs as a function of vertical individualism. Moreover, the association between customer injustice and sabotage toward customer occurs as a function of horizontal individualism, negative reciprocity norm, and belief in ultimate justice. Results of Study 2 showed that the strength of the association between customer injustice and sabotage toward customer was significantly weaker among employees in China than in Canada. Three cultural values, namely individualism, uncertainty avoidance, and power distance, accounted for these between-country differences, with individualism as the strongest mediatory factor. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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