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Purpose: With the continued expansion of Western organisations and their leadership personnel and practices across national boundaries there is a need for continued critical examination of assumptions about the transferability of these practices into other cultural settings. The purpose of this paper is to focus on one such practice, delegation, and explores its relationship to leader-member exchange (LMX) relationships and work outcomes in a non-Western organisation. Design/methodology/approach: Participants (186) were Chinese subordinate managers in a large transport company in Hong Kong. Data were collected via questionnaire and analysed using a path-analytic model. Findings: The data supported a direct and indirect path between delegation and job satisfaction and an indirect path only between delegation and job performance where LMX was the mediating variable. The results highlight the importance of LMX in the delegation-work outcomes relationship. Research limitations/implications: The limitations of using a single site for investigation, cross-sectional data and common method bias are discussed in relation to suggestions for future research. Practical implications: For the company in question, quality LMX relationships are seen as key for improving delegation-work outcome relationships particularly in terms of the potential to “soften” the autonomy requirements of the delegation process for Chinese subordinate managers. Originality/value: This research adds new knowledge to the literature about the conditions under which delegation may be effective in improving subordinate job satisfaction and performance through the agency of enhanced LMX relationships in a Chinese work context.

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Journal Article

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