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Employee tenure in China: comparing foreign joint ventures

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conference contribution
posted on 2012-06-06, 13:56 authored by Angelika ZimmermannAngelika Zimmermann, Xiaohui Liu, Trevor Buck
The retention of qualified Chinese employees is an increasing concern for managers in China today. Various studies have highlighted the rise of turnover rates, and many have suggested how human resource practices can help promote retention. There is also some indication that employee tenure may vary with the nationality of firms in China. However, little research has compared employee tenure or the use of human resource practices for retention between firms of different nationality in China. Such enquiries would be vital for gaining a better understanding of the phenomenon, and for establishing best practice. We therefore conducted a comparison of average employee tenure and the use of HR practices between Sino-foreign joint ventures (JVs) with Western (EU/US), overseas Chinese (Hong Kong/Taiwan), and other Asian (Japanese/Korean) partners. Primary data from questionnaire surveys were obtained from a total of 316 JVs in Beijing, Tianjin, and Qingdao. We found a significant relationship between nationality and tenure. Tenure was the highest in overseas Chinese, moderate in Japanese/Korean, and lowest in Western firms. The results also suggest that the variation in tenure between nationalities was partly mediated by the firms’ use of a human resource practices. We discuss these results in terms of cultural differences and the long-term orientation of human resource systems.


Financial support from the Leverhulme Trust, grant number F/00 261/U, is gratefully acknowledged.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business


ZIMMERMANN, A., LIU, X. and BUCK, T., 2008. Employee tenure in China: comparing foreign joint ventures. IN: Cantwell, J. and Kiyak, T. (eds.). Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the Academy of International Business, Milan, Italy, June 30 - July 3.


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This conference paper was presented at the AIB 2008 Annual Meeting Milan, Italy June 30- July 3.


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