At the dawn of the twenty-first century, China looms large. A world power increasingly assertive in the global arena, China is determined to reclaim the leadership position it held a millennium ago in art, science, and, most important for our purposes, in administrative behavior. The Chinese economy is already well on course to becoming the world's largest, and the country's entry into the World Trade Organization will establish it firmly as a global player. China continues to be a magnet for foreign direct investment, leading the developing world in investment dollars. Chinese products are in the hands of consumers around the globe, and some, such as appliance maker Haier, have begun to carry their own brand names in foreign markets. Although its name is still synonymous with inexpensive, low-technology manufacturing, China has a reservoir of technological know-how and the capacity to engage in cutting-edge technology that will make it a world-class competitor some time into the future.
Interest in Chinese business and management practices has concomitantly grown. Gone are the days when authors (such as this one) had to plead with editors that China deserved some attention and that writers had no right to discuss supposedly universal management practices without taking into account the largest workforce in the world. The past two decades saw a remarkable growth of interest in things Chinese and a growing attention to business in China. Truly, much of the attention was focused on foreign, especially U.S., investment in China, whereas relatively little research