Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

An Investigation on Well Performing Chinese Enterprises Features of Human Resources Management

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

An Investigation on Well Performing Chinese Enterprises Features of Human Resources Management

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Asian markets and economies experienced tremendous growth in the later half of the 20th century. Regional economies in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and other pan-Chinese areas achieved remarkable achievements in economic performance. Given these results, the management features of Chinese enterprises have become a topic of interest for many researchers. Unlike western enterprises characterized by active pursuit of systematic scientific management, eastern enterprises place greater importance on the rule of man and its concepts. Such phenomenon has inspired many researches on the characteristics of upper management structure and leadership of Chinese enterprises which have been described as paternalistic (Silin, 1976; Redding, 1990). Redding's study (1990) identified social harmony to be the ultimate value of Chinese societies. When compared against their Western counterparts, Chinese corporate leaders tend to do their best to avoid open confrontation within the business organisation. Farh & Cheng (2000) further pointed out that Chinese businesses tend to have an atmosphere of personal influence characterized by benevolence, authoritarianism and moral leadership. Differences in leadership approaches between Eastern and Western organisations not only highlight the question of cultural compatibility of management theories and approaches, the unique organisational culture of Chinese enterprises featuring Confucian philosophies also attracted the attention of many Western scholars. Such leadership styles have also been regarded as a key element for molding organisational culture.

Chen & Partington (2004) also compared differences between Chinese and Western cultures, noting that Chinese enterprises focus on Collectivism and are largely characterized by large power distance, strong uncertainty avoidance (ability to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity that run contrary to the rules), conservatism and experience tensions between established hierarchy and harmony. Western enterprises, on the other hand, emphasize autonomy and experience tensions between mastery and egalitarian commitment. Luo (2008) provided further descriptions on the differences between Chinese and Western multinational corporations from the aspect of international business negotiation. Western enterprises focus on logical analysis, economic and interest-driven guidelines, free competition and independent thinking modes. Chinese MNCs, on the other hand, have been long influenced by Confucian ideals and philosophies and thus focus on long-term collaboration and mutual consensus while placing greater importance on interpersonal relationships and emotional exchange.

The concept of leading change emerged as a response to rapid and drastic changes to the knowledge economy as well as the general business environment. Leading change emphasized that organisations need to remain constantly vigilant of changes to their environment and make adjustments as required. The key to successful leading change lies in clarity of vision, employee participation and building of an organisational culture. Many researchers, such as Cabrera & Bonache (1999) believes that HR specialists can systematically refer to the organisation's overall strategy and design HR activities in order to better align organisational culture to its strategies and build a strategic culture. Harris & Ogbonna (2001) pointed out the management may use HR strategies to create an organisational culture adapted to the latest environment and other aspects of competition to enhance organisational performance. Saunders (2009) also found that when encouraging organisational development or transformational management, existing organisational cultural features may be incorporated to lower resistance to transformational efforts in order to build better consistency between HR activities and organisational strategy, create a new culture and achieve improved performance. …

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