China / Society

Survey reveals officialdom plagued by 'who you know' mentality

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-02 21:10

BEIJING - A survey has revealed that most Chinese said workplace cliques existed and that having the "right" boss led to success.

The survey, initiated by the newspaper China Youth Daily and published on Monday, revealed that 74.2 percent of its 2,018 respondents said "influence spheres", or cliques, did exist, with 75.9 percent saying that "it's who, not what, you know that matters" in society at large.

About 47.2 percent of respondents said that attaching themselves to an influential boss was more important than practical work experience to career success.

The respondents said this situation had led to unfairness, lack of efficiency and corruption.

According to the newspaper, about 8.3 percent of respondents were Communist Party of China (CPC) or government officials, 21.5 percent were state-funded institution workers and 20.8 percent were state-owned enterprise employees.

Another 40 percent were employed by private enterprises or foreign-funded companies.

The report quoted Guo Shiyou, a professor with Tongji University, as saying that workplace cliques reflected a wider problem in politics and officialdom.

"The power of some top leaders was unlimited, and in many cases they had arbitrary power to make decisions, including those regarding official selection and promotion," Guo said. "Therefore, many people believe that to associated with the 'right' clique will ensure success."

Ai Jun, a Chinese culture researcher, said the clique culture had plagued Chinese officialdom for hundreds of years. However, he said efforts by the CPC to clean up such problems were helping relieve the situation.

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