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Employee imagination and implications for entrepreneurs: Inspiration from Chinese business enterprises

Usman Talat (Salford Business School, University of Salford, Salford, UK)
Kirk Chang (Salford Business School, University of Salford, Salford, UK)

Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management

ISSN: 2040-8005

Article publication date: 9 October 2017




The purpose of this study is to examine employee imagination and implications for entrepreneurs of China. In 2015, the European Group of Organization Studies released a call for papers highlighting poor knowledge of employee imagination in organizations. To address this need, the current study hypothesizes employee imagination consisting of seven conditions common to the organizational experience of Chinese Entrepreneurs.


The current paper reviews the Chinese enterprising context. Cases from China are used to illustrate the effects of proposed conditions and their value for entrepreneurs and innovators in businesses undergoing change.


Employee imagination underpins and conditions how Chinese employees make sense of their organizations and better understand the process of organizational change. From the viewpoint of human resource management, emphasis on coaching and developing imagination enables businesses to stay competitive and adapt to environmental demands such as lack of information, too much information or the need for new information.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed conditions apply to the Chinese context; however, their application to wider contexts is suggested and requires attention.

Practical implications

Employee imagination was found to be a powerful tool, which facilitates the process of organizational change management.


Theoretically, the research adds new insights to knowledge of a poorly understood organizational behavior topic – employee imagination. Practically, the research findings provide mangers with knowledge of conditions, which could be adopted as powerful tools in facilitating organizational change management.



The authors would like to express their sincere gratitude to two colleagues Prof Constantine Sedikides and Prof Ralph Darlington who have offered valuable comments to an earlier version of this paper. The insight provided by their colleagues and their constructive criticism have greatly improved their paper.


Talat, U. and Chang, K. (2017), "Employee imagination and implications for entrepreneurs: Inspiration from Chinese business enterprises", Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 129-152.



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