Indigenous Chinese Management Philosophies: Key Concepts and Relevance for Modern Chinese Firms

Indigenous Chinese Management Philosophies: Key Concepts and Relevance for Modern Chinese Firms

Ritam Garg (Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany) and Sue Claire Berning (Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2160-0.ch003
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Increasing internationalization of Chinese firms is continuously attracting the attention of management scholars across the world. Hence, one of the main questions in this context is whether the unique cultural concepts that are indigenous to China support or aggravate the success of Chinese firms. The main objective of this study is therefore to review the cultural aspects prevalent in China from an indigenous management perspective. In particular, we explore whether and how the ancient Chinese teachings and philosophies, such as Guanxi or Mianzi, are relevant in the modern Chinese management context. This study specifically seeks to contribute to the understanding of management culture of Chinese firms and, more generally, to cross-cultural and indigenous management research.
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The Relevance Of Indigenous Chinese Management Concepts

Research on Chinese firms’ management style and culture has started to increase with the reform and opening policy implemented by the Chinese government in 1979. Parallel to the growing number of foreign firms doing business in China and thus with increasing intensity of cross-cultural encounters, Chinese firms amplified their business activities both abroad and at home. The detected differences between Western and Chinese managerial practices induced a vast amount of international scholars to examine the causes, consequences, and concepts thereof in order to provide appropriate explanations and predictions. Among them, one prominent stream of research emerged which argues that mainstream theoretical perspectives, approaches and frameworks were designed to be universally valid, but they hold two major shortcomings: First, they are ignoring meaningful circumstances and conditions, and hence are context-free (Tsui, 2006; Whetten, 2009). Second, they are all developed by Westerners and therefore lack the emic or insider perspective (Triandis et al., 1993; Fang, 2003; Child, 2009). So as to address these deficiencies, the investigation of indigenous management concepts stepped forward (Leung, 2012; Holtbrügge, 2013).

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