An investigation of leadership styles and relationship cultures of Chinese and expatriate managers in multinational construction companies in Hong Kong

Johnny Wong, Philco Wong, Heng Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Cross-cultural leadership research has predicted that the Chinese are perceived as people-oriented and prefer a high-context power relationship, whereas Westerners are perceived as task-oriented and prefer a low-context power relationship. However, such general predictions are less accurate when intercultural interactions exist in multicultural workplaces. For this reason leadership perceptions and power relationships of both Chinese and Western expatriate project managers are explored in multinational construction firms in Hong Kong. Questionnaire data from 45 project managers and 61 subordinates suggested that the local (Hong Kong) Chinese and Western expatriate managers do not differ significantly in terms of leadership perceptions and power relationships. Both manager groups equally considered the importance of task performance and interpersonal relationships. Two possibilities are proposed which lead to similar leadership and power relationship styles of managers from different cultural orientations: the 'intercultural adjustment' of expatriates, and the adaptation of Western styles of leadership by the Hong Kong Chinese project managers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-106
Number of pages12
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • China
  • Culture
  • International business
  • Leadership
  • Project manager

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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