The concept of a high commitment work system (HCWS) has mostly been used in the West to study the relationship between a firm's work systems and organizational performance. In this paper, we introduce a preliminary measure of HCWS in China based on the definition of Baron and Kreps (1999). In study 1, we tested the measure by surveying 442 employees in China's information technology (IT) industry. In study 2, we re‐tested the same measure from the perspective of human resource (HR) executives in 126 foreign‐invested companies. The analyses not only provided some evidence for the construct validity of this preliminary measure of a high commitment work system, but also produced some interesting results that can only be understood with regards to the history and institutional backgrounds of Chinese organizations.