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Chinese strategy: is it crossverging, converging or transverging to Western systems?

Alex Mackinnon (University of Stirling, Stirling, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 7 March 2008




The purpose of this paper is to assess the change in Chinese managerial network systems to identify adaptation to Western strategic systems.


A sequential explanatory approach was adopted – a quantitative analysis of personal value systems of Chinese managers visiting the UK using established cultural value dimensions, with qualitative semi‐structured interviews to assist statistical inferences.


The traditional values of Chinese managers are decreasing in importance and lower power distance is apparent. A more flexible, dynamic approach with increased heterogeneity in countering competitive challenges – a transvergence, rather than crossvergence or convergence – is inferred.

Research limitations/implications

This paper has three major limitations. First, it applies cross‐cultural methods but uses strategic theory as the interpretative framework. Second, the sample size is small, based on convenience sampling, and is specific to managers arriving at a foreign interface. Third, this research is exploratory and explanatory, designed to challenge present understanding. Future research at country interfaces should identify global patterns of strategic adaptation, creating stronger inferential arguments with convergence of economic problems as a causal mechanism.

Practical implications

The practical implications are twofold: Chinese strategy is adapting to new economic problems not new ideological structures; managerial network systems and not Chinese firms are the locus of the adaptation.


This paper draws together concepts from strategy, problem solving, decision making, and cultural values, arguing that Chinese strategic change results from a dynamic interaction between strategic problem‐solving choices.



Mackinnon, A. (2008), "Chinese strategy: is it crossverging, converging or transverging to Western systems?", Management Decision, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 173-186.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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