Measuring employee satisfaction in Chinese resource-based state-owned enterprises and identifying its effect on commitment to organizational culture


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Fangtao LIU

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Awarding Institution
Award date2 Oct 2015


As a result of the increasing global importance of the Chinese market, along with its mounting complexity, employee satisfaction and organizational culture have become important issues gaining significant research attention in China. Based on different resource allocation methods and market operation, Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) can be divided into resource-based SOEs and market-based SOEs that have distinct cultural backgrounds. Although measurement scales and satisfaction models have been proposed over the years, very few studies have been carried out to address the particular nature inherent in Chinese resource-based SOEs. This dissertation conducts a series of investigations to gain an enhanced understanding of the internal structural and external factors affecting employee satisfaction and employee’s commitment to organizational culture in Chinese resource-based SOEs. This dissertation contains three main parts. Part 1 involves developing an employee satisfaction scale and identifying its underlying factors. Part 2 adopts a structural equation model (SEM) to confirm the effects of employee satisfaction levels on commitment to organizational culture. Data from 3,029 respondents employed in 27 enterprises are used in Parts 1 and 2. Part 3 uses a hierarchical linear model (HLM) to identify the influential factors of employee’s commitment to organizational culture at the enterprise level. In Part 1, we first develop a measurement scale with 29 indicators to estimate employee satisfaction and test its reliability and validity. Compulsory self-administered surveys are conducted at 27 enterprises to collect first-hand data from 3,029 respondents. Using exploratory factor analysis, four satisfaction factors are extracted from the 29 indicators. These attributes measure how satisfied the employees are with their job (i.e., job satisfaction), welfare (i.e., welfare satisfaction), and company culture (i.e., culture satisfaction) and management (i.e., management satisfaction). Furthermore, we propose the score of each satisfaction factors, resulting in several suggestions from the employees’ angle for improved enterprise management. Denison (1990) proposed that organizational culture can be measured quantitatively by employee’s cultural commitment; it consists of cognition, participation, and identity toward the organizational culture. Cultural commitment not only reflects internal management, it also directs the future development and performance of an organization. Thus, the topic of commitment to organizational culture has attracted the attention of corporate managers. In Part 2, using the variables of commitment to organizational culture as targets, we deduce an SEM of its relationship with the four types of satisfaction, namely, “Model 1 -SEM of employee satisfaction factors and commitment to organizational culture.” Demographic background influences employee satisfaction levels. For example, gender has a significant effect on job satisfaction, whereas age and education have considerable influence on welfare satisfaction. In Part 3, the 3,029 respondents in our data are nested in 27 enterprises, thus, commitment to organizational culture varies among the different enterprises. To study the effects of employee satisfaction and demographic indicators toward employees’ commitment to organizational culture at the enterprise level, we develop an HLM, which is, “Model 2 -HLM of employee satisfaction and commitment to organizational culture.” Empirical results indicate that four enterprise’s contextual variables, including comprehensive management, energy intensity, cost-income ratio and capacity load ratio, also influence the commitment to organizational culture levels beyond the factors of employees’ satisfaction and demographic background. This dissertation can extend and enrich the theoretical literature on the conceptualization and identification of the main influential factors to measure employee satisfaction and organizational culture in Chinese resource-based SOEs.

    Research areas

  • Job satisfaction, Government business enterprises, Employee motivation, Corporate culture, China