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Title: Tokenism in Chinese work organisations? Subordinate-supervisor gender combination and worker's organisational commitment in China

Authors: Song Yang; Jihong Wu; Runtian Jing

Addresses: Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 72701, USA ' Department of Business Administration, School of Management and Economics, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China ' Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China

Abstract: Using a unique dataset consisting of 343 supervisor-subordinate pairs from various workplaces in China, this study investigates workers' organisational commitment in Chinese organisations. We juxtapose two lines of arguments on gender composition and work experiences for supervisors and subordinates: Rosabeth Kanter's tokenism theory, and a collection of fruitful studies on leadership and gender. Our results support the tokenism theory: women working under female supervisors not only have the lowest levels of organisational commitment, but the difference between their organisational commitment and that of either men or women working under male supervisors is statistically significant. We attempt to account for such new findings with unique Chinese culture and institutional characteristics.

Keywords: gender composition; organisational commitment; tokenism; subordinates; supervisors; China; work experiences; culture; institutional characteristics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCCM.2017.082400

International Journal of Chinese Culture and Management, 2017 Vol.4 No.1, pp.1 - 18

Received: 27 Jan 2016
Accepted: 28 Nov 2016

Published online: 22 Feb 2017 *

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