This study aims to explore the role of workplace guanxi in building hotel career success. Drawing upon the career competency model and social exchange theory, a competency-success framework through the mediating roles of coworker and supervisor-subordinate guanxi is proposed and tested. The moderating effects of occupational status, department and identity are also investigated. The results indicate that workplace guanxi partially mediates the relationship between career competency and career success, and highlight a three-dimensional typology of workplace guanxi, i.e., lateral versus vertical, cooperative versus competitive, and indigenous versus alien. It is implied that coworker guanxi is more prominent for non-managerial employees or frontline/back office personnel, while supervisor-subordinate guanxi has a stronger impact on career advancement for managerial or sales and marketing employees. Furthermore, local employees own an advantage over expatriates in capitalizing on guanxi. Implications to academics and the industry are also discussed.
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