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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Welcome to the first issue of Journal of Technology Management in China, a new journal that will publish material that critically engages with the broad field of technology management in China and examines what is currently happening in China, addressing issues of importance in areas of technology innovation, technology transfer and technological change within contemporary China from both academic and broader business, management, political and societal perspectives.
In the age of globalisation, China presents a unique setting for organizations. The unprecedented growth of China's economy, which remains the fastest growing in the world, offers significant potential for both Chinese and foreign investors. Today, increased levels of competition in the wake of China's entry into the WTO have resulted in experimentation and risk-taking as ways of doing business in China. However, the uncertainties and ambiguities prevalent in the Chinese business environment are neither well understood nor effectively negotiated by the international investment community. The complexities of technology and knowledge transfer, for example, have led to misunderstanding in the operation and the implementation of international joint venture projects in China. China's business environment continues to present many challenges, particularly in how to manage effective business networks and ensure successful knowledge transfer, especially in international joint venture projects in China.
This journal aims to give a broad international coverage of subjects relating to technology and knowledge transfer, technology and business strategy and technology management in China. Emphasis is placed on the publication of articles which seek to link theory with application or critically analyse real situations in terms technology management in China with the objective of identifying good practice in technology transfer and addressing the existing deficiencies in the process of technology transfer. The intention of the journal is to assist in the development of more appropriate arrangements for the transfer of management know – how in theory and in practice. The journal's coverage makes it an essential resource for academics and managers worldwide who are engaged in the study of technology management or who are responsible for the strategic planning of technological investment. The journal, therefore, intends to provide a forum for current thinking on how competitive advantage can be achieved through the application of successful technology management.
Key research areas covered in the journal are: technology management and how it impacts upon the areas of marketing, human resources, accounting and finance and the supply chain, in particular:
Chinese business and culture;
R&D management in China;
strategic knowledge management;
knowledge transfer and sharing;
technology and business strategy;
entrepreneurship and leadership;v
cross-culture management; and
product life cycle management.
The journal encourages papers with the focus on interdisciplinary, international and comparative standpoints on contemporary management issues concerned with the above areas. Papers could include empirical research, case studies and conceptual or methodological papers. Quantitative and qualitative approaches are equally welcome.
The development of JTMC came out of discussions between ourselves and Emerald for proposals for a new journal that would deal with the critical issues in technology management in China that are being discussed in popular texts and the business pages of newspapers and magazines. We considered that, whilst there is a considerable amount of critical discussion of these issues within the academic community, this discussion was to a large extent fragmented, conducted within disciplinary boundaries, and not actively promoted in the global management and business academic community, or in society at large.
JTMC, therefore, seeks to inform and support critical discussion on the nature and process of technology management and knowledge transfer in China that is academically rigorous, through empirical study and/or methodological or theoretical development. It is the only journal that exclusively supports critical discussion of the nature and impact of technology management and knowledge transfer in China from trans- and multi-disciplinary perspectives, rather than within specific fields, such as operations management, economics, politics, geography, psychology, organisation behaviour, HRM, and so on. This multi-disciplinary approach, along with the global reach of JTMC is reflected in the membership of both the editorial board and editorial advisory board, where members are drawn from a broad range of disciplines and academic institutions from different regions of the world, all being eminent and widely published in their own fields.
Within this first issue, we include six double blind peer-reviewed academic papers. The first, “Technology management in China: a global perspective and challenging issues” by Richard Li-Hua and Tarek Khalil, identifies the need for new frameworks in technology management after examination of what is happening currently in China, to analyse the technology management process and, in particular, to enable managers and businesses involved in international technology management activities to understand and appreciate the competitive and strategic benefits associated with it. The authors, drawing on over two decades of US experience in this field, single out areas where new frameworks, infrastructures and strategies are required and provides insights into the challenging issues that such frameworks should address in the analysis of technology management in China, with its unique model of management, including the development of new curricula in the management of technology.
The second paper, “How technological capability influences business performance: an integrated framework based on the contingency approach” by Yonggui Wang, Hing-Po Lo, Quan Zhang and Youzhi Xue, is in contrast an empirical paper that addresses four research questions:
RQ1.What effect does technological capability have on business performance?RQ2.How does it impact on performance?RQ3.Is this link contextual?RQ4.Why do some firms apparently strong in this area fail?
The authors support their discussion through theoretical perspectives on the links between technological capability and business performance, the mediating role of customer value, the moderating effects of business environment, and such important contingent factors as learning orientation. The paper presents a conceptual framework and tests these hypotheses empirically with a large-scale cross-sectional survey of a sample of high-tech firms in Shenzen, Tianjin and Beijing.
In the third paper, “North-East China – cradle of change: a preliminary review of changing technological and industrial sectors” Jon Sigurdson seeks to contribute to and to stimulate discussion on the nature of regional business development and the role of universities and research institutes by focussing on the three provinces of North-East China. This region is interesting in that, though performing relatively well in terms of economic and educational development, it has not experienced the fundamental changes experienced in coastal South-East China, and industrial reform of “rustbelt” heavy industry in the form of state-owned enterprises has created employment challenges that have not been successfully met, as elsewhere in China, through foreign direct investment, due to infrastructure and services weaknesses. The intent is to highlight areas of difference with other regions of China, and to stimulate further debate on the implications for engineering and management research and education of perspectives on institutional path dependency, organisational transformation, and social change and on differences in investment strategies across cultural contexts (much of the investment in Dalian has been from Japan and Korea, rather than North America or Europe).
Liqin Ren, Koos Krabbendam and Petra de Weerd-Nederhof highlight the strategies adopted by three Chinese state-owned enterprises to enhance the success potential of manufacturing innovation in their paper “Innovation practices success in China: the use of innovation mechanisms in Chinese SOEs”. They explore these strategies through the use of a technical innovation audit tool based on “Western” good practices, as well as through interviews and observations. Seeking to stimulate debate on the process of innovation, they reveal room for improvement and enhancement of innovation, and argue that benchmarking can assist in this project, but found that contrary to “Western” theories, companies with less openness to the market and higher government involvement made more widespread use of innovation mechanisms, suggesting the importance of context to an understanding of the transition process.
Also in this issue, we include two papers that address issues of relevance to particular business sectors in China. In their paper, “Exploring issues of competitive advantage: e-business applications within the Chinese real estate industry” Mathew Hinton and Yan Tao provide an analysis of the key sources of competitive advantage gained from e-business applications by Chinese real estate developers, adopting a qualitative case study approach to five mainland real estate companies in Beijing and in Shenzhen.. They explore whether value chain theories can explain this phenomenon, concluding that such frameworks make the identification of key sources of competitive advantage explicit, but cannot fully explain the success of e-business applications nor the realisation of intended motivations.
In contrast, Shawn Carraher, Geralyn McClure Franklin, John Parnell and Sherry Sullivan in their paper on “Entrepreneurial service performance and technology management: a study of China and Japan” explore the utility of a selection instrument in predicting service and technologically-oriented performance in technologically-oriented businesses in China and Japan. Noting a dearth of research on job performance in China, they collected data from over 200 employees in both China and Japan, using a previously developed personality-oriented employment questionnaire. Though they found a seven-dimensional structure in both samples, with each dimension predicting performance, the structures were not consistent across the two countries. In addition, substantially less of the variance in service-oriented and technologically-oriented performance could be explained in China than in Japan, suggesting that more psychometric research is need in China and that researchers should take care in applying instruments developed in western countries to China.
We hope that you will find JTMC informing, stimulating and challenging, and inclusive of multiple disciplinary and methodological, perspectives and thought provoking on the nature and implications of technology management in China. We anticipate that you will be inspired to contribute to these discussions, and we look forward to your participation in, and contributions to, the discussions that will develop through JTMC over the coming years.
Paul IlesAssociate Editor