First Advisor

Keith James

Date of Publication

Winter 2-7-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Psychology






Older people -- Employment -- China -- Cross-cultural studies, Age and employment -- China, Older people -- Employment -- China -- Attitudes, Employees -- Rating of -- Age factors -- China, Personnel management -- Evaluation -- Age factors -- China



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 173 pages)


As a result of changing demographic trends in today's workforce, employees of all ages can now be found in all career stages. Consequently, the pairing of a younger supervisor with a relatively older employee is becoming increasingly more common. Research in the United States has shown that such demographically "non-normative" pairings have negative implications for employee attitudes and behaviors, and thus for employee performance management. However, little is known about the effects of such pairings in other nations and cultures, despite the fact that these demographic shifts are occurring on a global level. As such, this study examined the effects of these pairings on employee reactions to formal performance feedback episodes in a large organization in China, due to the nation's similarly shifting demographic trends and its economic power in today's global economy. A series of path analyses showed that being paired with a relatively younger supervisor did predict reduced employee feedback satisfaction and perceptions of feedback utility; but, contrary to the proposed model, these effects did not occur because of reduced interactional justice perceptions or reduced perceptions of leader-member exchange (LMX). Further, LMX did not moderate the study outcomes, demonstrating that having a better relationship with one's supervisor did not alleviate the effects of supervisor relative age on employee feedback reactions. The conceptual and practical implications of these results are discussed in light of a rapidly changing workforce, and of cultural differences, in China.


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