Jinhua Zhang



As the Chinese hotel industry is now operating in a highly-competitive environment, international hotel chains in China need to focus on employee job performance and satisfaction in order to retain competitive advantage. This study aims to offer a theoretical model for, and assessment of, the structural relationships among employee autonomous motivation, job performance, and satisfaction at international hotel chains in China. In order to achieve the research aims of the study, the author employed mixed methods. Firstly, a total of 31 interviews were conducted to provide practical support and credibility for the theoretical model. Secondly, a survey was conducted in China, which provided 307 valid responses for use in assessment of the model. The key findings of this study are presented as follows: firstly, pay is not a motivator for employee job performance and satisfaction, while career development plays a significant role in job performance and satisfaction of employees; secondly, employees from the Western economic region of China are more autonomously motivated to engage in work and more satisfied in their present jobs than those from the Eastern economic region of China; thirdly, personality and transformational leadership were drivers of employee autonomous motivation which in turn contributes to employee job performance and satisfaction; fourthly, employees with high levels of performance enjoy good job satisfaction and develop positive guanxi with their supervisors; fifthly, transformational leadership has a strong impact on the development of positive supervisor-subordinate guanxi; finally, employee job performance mediated the relationship between employee autonomous motivation and employee job satisfaction, and supervisor-subordinate guanxi mediated the relationship between employee job performance and satisfaction. Based on these findings, both theoretical and practical implications have been developed. This study is one of the first to address how and why employee autonomous motivation, job performance, satisfaction, and supervisor-subordinate guanxi are associated at international hotel chains in China through analysing the direct and mediating relationships between constructs. Practical recommendations are provided for four types of stakeholders: employees are encouraged to work in the Chinese Western region and pay attention to both work-centric and off-work-centric behaviours, with the positive affect; the managements should focus on transformational leadership behaviours; the human resource department need to design effectively individual career development plan and organise specific training; IHCs are suggested to support the establishment of positive guanxi between subordinates and supervisors for individual career development.

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