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Journal of Organizational Behavior Special Issue Call

Journal of Organizational Behavior
special issue call for papers:
Organizational Behavior Issues in China


The editors of the Journal of Organizational Behavior intend to publish a special issue of the journal on the subject of ‘Organizational Behavior Issues in China.’
Guest Editors:
Weichun Zhu, Pennsylvania State University
Fred O. Walumbwa, Arizona State University
Hongwei He, University of Warwick
Kenneth S. Law, Chinese University Hong Kong
Jiing-Lih Farh, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Background and Rationale for this Special Issue
Since Deng Xiaoping’s “Reform and Open Policy” started in 1978, China’s economy has been growing rapidly, and today is the second largest economy in the world. In the globalization age, China’s economy has become more integrated and increasingly interdependent with the rest of the world. In this historical transformative moment, practitioners and academics alike have shown growing interests in management issues in the Chinese context. For example, we have seen an increasing number of organizational behavior (OB) studies using Chinese samples published in international OB and management journals each year. Although these OB studies have undoubtedly shed light on the uniqueness and complexity of OB issues in China, most of these studies tend to rely heavily on Western OB theories and paradigms in testing their proposed hypotheses and make little reference to the contextual factors or indigenous theorization process. Thus, there is still very limited evidence to suggest that these OB theories developed in the Western contexts are fully aligned with Chinese traditional culture, history, and current economic, social, and cultural developmental stages.
In one Journal of Organizational Behavior editorial (2001), Rousseau and Fried promulgated the need for contextualized organizational behavior (OB) research. They cited two reasons for the importance of contextualization of OB research: the internationalization of OB research domain and the diversification of work and work settings in different cultures. Tsui (2004) made a distinction between context-embedded research and context-specific indigenous research based on the degree of contextualization. Whereas context-embedded research are “context-sensitive” and explicitly modeling contextual factors as either main effects or as moderators, the indigenous research goes beyond testing an existing theory to use scientific methods to study local phenomena by using local language, local subjects, and locally meaningful constructs (Tsui, 2004, 2006).
Although high-quality culturally-embedded and indigenous research is particularly important in advancing global OB and management research (Tsui, 2004, 2006), with a few exceptions (e.g., organizational citizenship behavior [OCB] in China, paternalistic leadership [Cheng, Farh, & Chou, 2006], and Guanxi), there is a general lack of research on Chinese indigenous OB theories. Therefore, how Chinese OB issues (e.g., OCB, motivation, communication, emotion display & regulation, team functioning, organizational culture, leadership styles, organizational justice, etc.) have been embedded in Chinese history, traditional cultures, and current economic, social, and political environments is far from fully clear to the outside world. Another reality is that the Chinese context is complex and can be influenced by different political systems (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan), different stages of economic development, the extent of economic integration with the rest of the world, and different types of organizational ownerships (e.g., state-owned, western-owned, joint ventures, privately-owned, etc.). To understand these complexities and unique situations there is a need for a systematic and integrative exploration of OB issues in Chinese organizations.
Potential Topics/Ideas for Contributors
This special issue seeks to bring together a number of theoretical and empirical papers to systematically and comprehensively advance OB research in the Chinese context. In this special issue, the papers will address the historical, philosophical, social, and cultural contexts in which Chinese OB is contingent and built upon.
Possible questions to be addressed by papers in the special issue include, but are not limited to:
  • What are the philosophical, cultural, social, economic, political, and media factors that are shaping OB in today’s China?
  • What are the core cross-cultural OB differences between China and the West and other parts of the world (e.g., other eastern cultures)?
  • How do historical and contemporary changes and developments, including the revolution, market economy, reform and open policy, western civilization, information age, and globalization in the 21st century, interact to co-influence Chinese managers’ and employees’ values, norms, patterns, and behaviors and expectations?
  • Are there any generational differences in Chinese employees, for example, how do those who grew up with the “Cultural Revolution” experience differ from those who grew up in the age of “Reform Stage” in their values, beliefs, work attitudes, and experiences in the organizational context?
  • Indigenous conceptualization, theorization, and measurement development (e.g., leadership styles, emotional regulation, psychological contract, organizational communications, organizational trust, organizational justice, organizational culture, OCB, and deviant behavior) in Chinese contexts.
  • How do people display and regulate their emotions in Chinese organizations? Are there any Chinese cultural values, norms or beliefs that are relevant to specific emotional display and regulation in Chinese organizations?
  • Do the functioning and performance of work teams in Chinese organizations differ from organizations in the West and elsewhere? What are the unique factors (e.g., organizational culture or national culture) that account for these differences, if any?
  • How do Chinese expatriates adapt to the life and work environment in other cultures and countries? What factors can account for job performances of those expatriates?
  • How does Guanxi develop in teams, among colleagues, and between leaders and followers? How does Guanxi affect employees’ well-beings, attitudes, and behaviors in Chinese organizations?
  • Are there any within-Chinese cultural differences (i.e., Mainland China vs. Taiwan or Hong Kong, Taiwan vs. Hong Kong)? Even within Mainland China, are there any differences in OB behaviors, including communication and emotional regulation behaviors, in different regions/provinces? What would account for such differences, if any?
  • Critical evaluation of the application of Western OB concepts/theories in the Chinese contexts. Can Chinese indigenous OB theories be applied to other cultures, including the West and other parts of the world?
Contributors should note:
  • This call is open and competitive, and the submitted papers will be blindly reviewed in the normal way.
  • Submitted papers must be based on original material not under consideration by any other journal or outlet.
  • For empirical papers based on data sets from which multiple papers have been generated, the editors must be provided with copies of all other papers based on the same data.
  • The editors will select a number of papers to be included in the special issue, but other papers submitted in this process may be recommended to be published in other issues of the journal.
The deadline for submissions is February 1st2014.
Papers to be considered for this special issue should be submitted online via ‘Special Issue Paper’ as the Manuscript Type). Please direct questions about the submission process, or any administrative matter, to the Managing Editor at
The editors of the special issue are very happy to discuss initial ideas for papers, and can be contacted directly at:
Cheng, B. S., Farh, J. L., & Chou, L. F. 2006. Paternalistic leadership: Model and evidence. Taipei, Taiwan: Hwa Tai Publishing. (in Chinese).
Rousseau, D. M., & Fried, Y. (2001). Location, location, location: Contextualizing organizational research. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22(1), 1-13.
Tsui, A. S. (2004). Contributing to global management knowledge: A case for high quality indigenous research.Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 21(4), 491-513.
Tsui, A. S. (2006). Contextualization in Chinese management research. Management and Organization Review, 2(1), 1-13.