Document Type : CASE STUDY


1 School of Safety, Xi’an University of Science and Technology, Xi’an, China

2 School of Management, Xi’an University of Science and Technology, Xi’an, China

3 School of Electronics, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an, China


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The duality of Chinese management style called guanxi might have a potential difference between Chinese and African ideologies, and may give rise to injustice in some overseas contracting projects leading to conflicts, fights and safety issues. Therefore, effective action is needed in improving Chinese contractors-local workers relationships on project sites. Hence, assessing the extent to which Chinese managers practice guanxi on African workers, and how guanxi is affecting conflict and safety standards shows the extent of hope in mitigating risks and improving management. Specifically, this case study attempted to sort out and rank all difficulties Chinese managers encounter while undertaking hydropower projects in Cameroon, to find out whether or not there is a supervisor-worker guanxi relationship on dam construction sites and whether or not guanxi is implicated in Sino-Cameroonian workers conflict and safety.
METHODS: SWARA method was used to analyze and rank difficulties, qualitative and quantitative assessments were undertaken for theories studies. After a workshop and semi-interview with Decision Makers a first survey was designed to gather scores of difficulties that ended to a ranking from most to least important using SWARA method. Then two questionnaires were structured and sent to local workers and Chinese project engineers, to gather all information about guanxi, conflicts and safety score. After a consistency study on 526 local workers and 40 Chinese manager’s responses selected from three different hydropower projects, the overall Cronbach’s alpha was 0.93 for supervisors and 0.88 for workers.
FINDINGS: The results of SWARA ranking showed that the problem areas giving rise challenges to Chinese contractors are mainly related to the language barrier (W=47.7%) and interpersonal issues (w=13.35%).The findings of hypotheses testing suggest that guanxi is not applied on local workers by Chinese managers with statistics X=4.36<26 and X=2.3514 respectively, thus ,hypotheses H21 and H22 were both supported; yet workers do have conflict relationship and do not feel safe working with Chinese managers stated with statistics 27.4 and 24.9 respectively. However, the application of guanxi may play an important role in positively affecting the conflicts and safety management in Chinese oversea megaprojects. Using these results, recommendations were thrown on project, conflict, and safety management. 
CONCLUSION: As the number of Chinese investments in infrastructures in Africa keeps increasing, the findings in this research may provide all parties with crucial information for better understanding of local workers they might hire for their numerous projects. This study has shown that Chinese managers do not practice guanxi on the local workers, yet it may help in improving safety and conflict management. Therefore, there is need for 


Main Subjects


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit:



Tehran Urban Planning and Research Center remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional afflictions.




International Journal of Human Capital in Urban Management (IJHCUM) welcomes letters to the editor for the post-publication discussions and corrections which allows debate post publication on its site, through the Letters to Editor. Letters pertaining to manuscript published in IJHCUM should be sent to the editorial office of IJHCUM within three months of either online publication or before printed publication, except for critiques of original research. Following points are to be considering before sending the letters (comments) to the editor.

[1] Letters that include statements of statistics, facts, research, or theories should include appropriate references, although more than three are discouraged.

[2] Letters that are personal attacks on an author rather than thoughtful criticism of the author’s ideas will not be considered for publication.

[3] Letters can be no more than 300 words in length.

[4] Letter writers should include a statement at the beginning of the letter stating that it is being submitted either for publication or not.

[5] Anonymous letters will not be considered.

[6] Letter writers must include their city and state of residence or work.

[7] Letters will be edited for clarity and length.