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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

Anthony Friend

In the wake of the ongoing financial crisis, US managerialism has been denounced as a professional caste that has slowly served to erode the competitiveness of the US…

Abstract

Purpose

In the wake of the ongoing financial crisis, US managerialism has been denounced as a professional caste that has slowly served to erode the competitiveness of the US economy. In light of this, there is an increasing search for possible alternatives to US managerialism, with some authorities putting forward that one enviable alternative is “Confucian management”, which they claim is a means of organising in Chinese institutions that gets things done by pulling on the rich heritage of Ancient Chinese philosophy. The purpose of this paper is to interrogate “Confucian management”.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper questions the common view of “Confucian management” through an ethnography of Baiyun University (a pseudonym) in South China, where the author worked as a “foreign” English lecturer for one academic year, and in order to do this the author draws on participant-observation and semi-structured interviews. Ethnography has long been associated with colonialism and has more recently been connected with post-colonialism, so in an attempt to decolonise the methodology, the author analyses the generated research data through a Chinese sensitive cultural framework.

Findings

This paper argues that “Confucian management” offers a confused and epistemologically questionable view on Chinese management. It points to some of the limitations of management and organisation studies brought about by claims being made without sufficient empirical evidence.

Research limitations/implications

The focus is on “Confucian management” at Baiyun University so findings are specific to this empirical research site. It is also acknowledged that universities have a divergent form of management to other institutions. The paper’s intent is ideographic rather than nomothetic; therefore, no claims to generalisation are made.

Originality/value

The paper makes three substantive contributions. First, the empirical contribution is an ethnographic description of “Confucian management” at Baiyun University. Second, the methodological contribution attempts to decolonise methodology by analysing the generated research data through a Chinese sensitive cultural framework. Third, the epistemological contribution queries to what extent “Confucian management” as an idea that is enunciated from the Global North is able to effectively speak about a practice that is supposedly performed in the Global South.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2014

Alex Mak, Lenis Cheung, Amy Mak and Loretta Leung

The purpose of this paper is to provide a concise introduction of sustainability in human resource management (HRM) from the western perspective. With a review of Confucian

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a concise introduction of sustainability in human resource management (HRM) from the western perspective. With a review of Confucian thinking, it argues that the application of sustainability in HRM is more effective and efficient under the influence of Confucian values. Therefore, Chinese companies are likely ready to embrace the concept of sustainability and implement sustainable people management practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is mainly theoretical in perspective. It also draws on semi-structured interview data derived from a study conducted in companies that operated in two cities in China: Guangzhou and Beijing to support the discussion of synergies between Confucian values and the western concept of sustainability in HRM.

Findings

In the interviews, it was evident that the interviewees were adhered to Confucian values, although they did not make the connection explicit. The interview data also showed how Confucian values (e.g. Ren, Yi, Li) affect Chinese management of human resources.

Research limitations/implications

The number of interviewees involved was not sufficient to allow a conclusive comparison between groups. Further research is needed to develop comparisons.

Practical implications

The paper suggests a favourable application of Confucian values in sustainable people management practices.

Originality/value

The interview data provide insight into how Confucian values lend support to sustainability in HRM.

Details

Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-4323

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

John S. Hill

China has become a driving force in the world economy, yet East‐West cultural differences remain a problem area for many managers. This paper examines the importance of…

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1372

Abstract

China has become a driving force in the world economy, yet East‐West cultural differences remain a problem area for many managers. This paper examines the importance of Confucianism in shaping societal values in China and how these values have affected the Chinese style of management. Confucian principles are extracted from the extant literature and used to explain the cultural underpinnings of Chinese leadership patterns, interpersonal behaviors and individual values. The longevity of Confucian influences throughout Chinese culture is a major factor in China’s resistance to Western management practices. There is also evidence that mainstream Confucian principles emphasizing teamwork, relationships and strong corporate cultures are gaining traction in the West. Future Western researchers should pay increased attention to East Asian philosophies and Asian‐based religions in their attempts to understand non‐Christian lifestyles and management methods.

Details

Journal of Asia Business Studies, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1558-7894

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Article
Publication date: 17 November 2020

Bo Yang, Pingping Fu, ‘Alim J. Beveridge and Qing Qu

Through three case studies, the authors aim to examine how Confucian humanistic philosophy can be applied to leadership practices and show how it is possible to practice…

Abstract

Purpose

Through three case studies, the authors aim to examine how Confucian humanistic philosophy can be applied to leadership practices and show how it is possible to practice humanistic leadership in the Chinese context.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use case studies of three exemplary humanistic leaders and the companies they lead to describe their leadership practices and influence on others and their companies.

Findings

The authors identify three common elements that connect their observations to an emerging scholarly conceptualization of humanistic leadership and develop a framework of Confucian humanistic leadership consisting of five attributes. The cases the authors studied suggest that the five attributes should be understood as being mutually reinforcing and acting in concert, rather than each acting independently of the others. The authors found that there is inherent consistency and connection between the core values of Confucianism and humanistic leadership.

Originality/value

The research contributes to the leadership literature, specifically the emerging literature on humanistic leadership, by introducing a framework for Confucian humanistic leadership. While much of the extant literature on humanistic leadership has been conceptual, the study shows how it is possible to practice humanistic leadership in the Chinese context by drawing on the foundation provided by Confucian humanistic philosophy. The findings also contribute to humanistic leadership research by providing important insights into specific capabilities that can help put the principles of humanistic leadership into practice, but that have not been considered to date.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2016

Tossapon Luechapattanaporn and Winai Wongsurawat

The purpose of this paper is to stimulate debate about the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating Confucian values in personnel and marketing practices of a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to stimulate debate about the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating Confucian values in personnel and marketing practices of a manufacturing firm in an ethnically diverse, emerging economy of Southeast Asia.

Design/methodology/approach

Primary data from the direct experience of the company’s manager were combined with secondary sources of information on the business landscape of Malaysia. Key lessons were developed from discussion and reflection on experiences of people involved with the company.

Findings

Cultivating warm, long-term relationships with customers through product dependability and gifts contributed to the firm’s marketing success. Family-like bonds between employees, “not strictly professional by Western standards” succeeded in keeping the turnover low. The paternalistic leadership style, however, came at the expense of a possible loss of constructive conflict through participatory decision-making.

Research limitations/implications

Analysis is restricted to the experience of a single company. Research findings are thus highly context-specific.

Originality/value

The case shows an example of successful implementation of key Confucian values in multiple business areas. The interplay between the East Asian values and the diverse ethnic context of Malaysia is also examined.

Details

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-5201

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1991

Abbass F. Alkhafaji

The study of international business has become increasinglyimportant in recent years. So important that the American Assembly ofthe Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB…

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3273

Abstract

The study of international business has become increasingly important in recent years. So important that the American Assembly of the Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has called for the internationalisation of business curricula. In 1992 and beyond, successful business people will treat the entire world as their domain. No one country can operate in an economic vacuum. Any economic measures taken by one country can affect the global economy. This book is designed to challenge the reader to develop a global perspective of international business. Globalisation is by no means a new concept, but there are many new factors that have contributed to its recently accelerated growth. Among them, the new technologies in communication and transport that have resulted in major expansions of international trade and investment. In the future, the world market will become predominant. There are bound to be big changes in the world economy. For instance the changes in Eastern Europe and the European Community during the 1990s. With a strong knowledge base in international business, future managers will be better prepared for the new world market. This book introduces its readers to the exciting and rewarding field of international management and international corporations. It is written in contemporary, easy‐to‐understand language, avoiding abstract terminology; and is organised into five sections, each of which includes a number of chapters that cover a subject involving activities that cross national boundaries.

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Ronald Busse, Malcolm Warner and Shuming Zhao

The purpose of this paper is to trace back the roots of US-driven “Human Resource Management” (HRM) school of thought which now become widely institutionalized in China…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to trace back the roots of US-driven “Human Resource Management” (HRM) school of thought which now become widely institutionalized in China, up to the present day.

Design/methodology/approach

It looks at the diffusion of management knowledge over the period to Chinese business, which involved in turn scientific management (SM), human relations (HR) and HRM, respectively, from the interwar years onwards, by using a bibliometric analysis of Chinese language sources, searching a number of databases now available.

Findings

The authors scanned the international, as well as Chinese, literature to support a conjecture of a HR route towards China and how it morphed into HRM and went on to conclude that there was by the end of the year 2015 still a significant output of academic publications with references to both HR and HRM, respectively, but that we must be cautious in asserting a firm conclusion.

Originality/value

This paper traces back the roots of Chinese HRM back to the US-driven HR school of thought.

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2020

Wan-Ju Chou and Bor-Shiuan Cheng

While current management theory is largely based on economic assumptions, there is evidence to suggest capitalism is at a crossroads. Humanistic management is accordingly…

Abstract

Purpose

While current management theory is largely based on economic assumptions, there is evidence to suggest capitalism is at a crossroads. Humanistic management is accordingly proposed as an alternative new paradigm. The present study follows this approach in considering Confucianism as a humanistic practice. The purpose of this study is to explore humanistic leadership displayed by a Confucian leader and how he/she presents humanistic concern in corporate management to pursue the common good.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted a structured–pragmatic–situational approach to conduct a case study and collected data from three sources: semi-structured interviews, consultant observations and archival data.

Findings

The findings reveal that a Confucian leader takes all stakeholders' interests into account while engaging in corporate management and displays humanistic behaviors toward the stakeholders that are in line with five Confucian virtues. The leader cultivates the employees as Confucian humanistic agents. These employees accordingly act as bridges to transmit the humanistic spirit to their customers and other industries in the same market. To initiate an industry change to achieve collective welfare, a Confucian leader must first influence his/her primary stakeholders. The primary stakeholders next collectively influence the secondary stakeholders (i.e. the industry). Consequently, the overall goal of the common good is ultimately sustained.

Originality/value

This study identifies valuable practical implications for humanistic practices in corporate management from a Confucian perspective. In addition, this study takes a significant academic step forward by illuminating the humanistic paradigm.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2008

Shyh-jer Chen

The traditional Confucian management system is considered distinctly different from Western-based management. This study draws data from indigenous Taiwanese firms listed…

Abstract

The traditional Confucian management system is considered distinctly different from Western-based management. This study draws data from indigenous Taiwanese firms listed on its public stock market and examines the associations among various human resource (HR) systems and organizational performance. First, factor analysis is used to explore a wide range of HR practices. Then, cluster analysis is used to classify indigenous Taiwanese firms with regard to their HR practices. Indigenous Taiwanese firms were found to use various HR systems, ranging from traditional Confucian HR to high-involvement HR practices. Companies that used high-involvement HR systems were found to perform better than those using a traditional Confucian HR system.

Details

The Global Diffusion of Human Resource Practices: Institutional and Cultural Limits
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1401-0

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Article
Publication date: 16 February 2010

Canchu Lin

The purpose of this paper is to propose a research agenda for studying Chinese culture and conflict.

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4211

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a research agenda for studying Chinese culture and conflict.

Design/methodology/approach

Publications on Chinese culture and conflict are searched and reviewed to identify conceptualizations of Chinese culture and key findings on conflict.

Findings

A review of the scholarly literature on Chinese culture and conflict suggests that Chinese culture has been mainly conceptualized as Confucianism and collectivism. Inadequacies of such conceptualizations and their negative effects on empirical research on Chinese culture and management and organization in China have been addressed.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations were not being able to get an exhaustive list of research publications on Chinese culture and conflict.

Practical implications

The paper helps to reduce stereotypes about Chinese conflict management stemmed from previous research

Originality/value

On the basis of recognizing the importance of past research, new directions for researching Chinese culture and conflict that constitute a new research agenda have been proposed.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

Keywords

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