Relating cultural change to strategic adaptation: an interpretation of modern Chinese management

Mackinnon, Alex (2005) Relating cultural change to strategic adaptation: an interpretation of modern Chinese management. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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Research into Chinese management has investigated foreign direct investment, organisational structures, and the implications of Western management influences on Chinese domestic practices. The recent entry of China into the World Trade Organisation has increased the demand for Western business knowledge by Chinese managers. This thesis extends present research with an investigation of change and
adaptation in the national cultural values and strategic decision making of the individual Chinese manager. In particular, it researches the effects at a boundary of British and Chinese cultures, studying Chinese managers working or training in the UK.
A national group of managers has distinct decision making and problem solving characteristics. Such characteristics result from tendencies to prefer certain `ways of doing things' over others, identified through national cultural values. At the interface of Western and Chinese national cultures there is unresolved academic debate whether Chinese value systems are diverging, converging or crossverging - moving from, or closer to, the Western `way of doing things' or creating a unique set of Chinese cultural controls. Change in cultural characteristics and associated networks would dynamically
reflect in the governing, control system criteria over Chinese strategic decision making.
To interpret change in Chinese problem solving criteria, this thesis links Western strategic theory with Chinese cultural characteristics. Relevant research in the Chinese and Western literature is reviewed and the characteristics of Chinese management values identified. An empirical data set on Chinese values and networking (guanxi) provides quantitative and qualitative evidence that adaptation in Chinese management strategy can be interpreted using cross-cultural research techniques and economic concepts. Methodological limitations in cross-cultural research are discussed and a mixed method research approach, and pragmatic research design, is deployed. Chinese management characteristics are mapped with unified Western transaction cost, resource base and real option theories related to economic exchange.
This thesis concludes that there is a determinable relationship between Chinese cultural characteristics, strategic decision making and Western economic and strategic theory. An explanatory, relevant and practical schema is theorised from the relationship. Flexible strategic problem solving by modem Chinese management infers an expansion of market governance in a low context, less hierarchical environment whilst retaining high context, guanxi relational governance for complex economic exchange. Strategic adaptation, domestically responsive but also internationally integrative, is reflected through change in the traditional way things are done -a transvergent adaptation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Keywords (uncontrolled): Control systems; crossvergence; culture; decision making; economic exchange; problem solving; real options; resource base; strategy; transaction costs; transvergence
Research Areas: A. > Business School
B. > Theses
Item ID: 10744
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2013 06:45
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:45

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