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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2017

Xuanwei Cao and Ali Quazi

This paper aims to illustrate how institutional factors, such as Guanxi (connectedness) mechanism in a transition economy, could impact managerial cognition and their…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to illustrate how institutional factors, such as Guanxi (connectedness) mechanism in a transition economy, could impact managerial cognition and their temporal orientation at individual level as well as induced change on corporate environmental strategy (CES). More specifically, this paper explores the micro foundation of corporate strategy change in an attempt to examine how corporate strategic choice and actions evolve with managerial cognition of “Guanxi” with various temporal orientations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the extant literature focusing on Guanxi and CES with special attention to the temporal orientation in strategy formulation. A conceptual framework is proposed to analyze the underlying mechanism of Guanxi in mediating and shaping CES. A multi-case study with four companies operating in two industry sectors were investigated considering their relative long foothold as well as their different postures and dynamic change of corporate environment strategy in the past decades.

Findings

The findings support recent critiques on the likely shift in strategic choice of firms from the traditional Guanxi-based to a rule-based format. The interactions between entrepreneurial cognition and strategic activities toward environmental issues were still influenced by deep relational embeddedness. The findings proved that managerial Guanxi cognition impacts managers’ temporal orientation and their strategic choice on CES. Foreign-invested enterprises in the process of localization face the potential risk of emerging backdrop of their CES, i.e. from more active strategy to more reactive strategic posture, whereas local private-owned enterprises show a transformation from reactor to follower and even pioneer in the wave of those entrepreneurs’ changing cognition on the role of Guanxi in their businesses.

Research limitations/implications

One main limitation of the study is the lacking of quantitative measurement of corporate environment performance. Although the paper used multiple cases to explore the dynamics of Guanxi on impacting CES, only with further development of effective scale measurement to test corporate environment performance can increase the explaining power of the proposed theoretical model in this study. It is important to note that with data of longitudinal measurement of corporate environment performance, it would be more convincing to show the outcome of the temporal lens of Guanxi on CES. However, the lacking availability of qualified disclosed data on indicating corporate environment performance constrains another limitation for the study. Considering the complexity of corporate environment strategy, the focus cases in the paper might still lack powerful and convincing illustration to prove the impact of Guanxi on CES despite the enriched contextual data and description. It is necessary to conduct deeper analysis to exclude the impact of other possible factors on CES to highlight the direct impact of Guanxi on CES.

Practical implications

The results of the in-depth analysis and interpretation of the exploration of the cases suggest that Guanxi still seems to dominate managerial thinking process as the norm is deeply rooted in their mind sets. However, Guanxi is no longer considered as a mere reactive cultural norm rather a positive mechanism through which Chinese firms can achieve their sustainable environmental strategic goals as well as economies prosperity in the rapidly competitive business landscape in modern China.

Originality/value

Previous research on CES largely neglected the context factors. This paper presents a conceptual model to deepen our understanding of the contextual factor of Guanxi with a temporal perspective and its consequent influence on CES. This helps policy makers as well as strategic management researchers and academics to reconsider the mechanism of adaptation and selection in shaping CES in the event of large scale institutional change.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 15 July 2014

Xuanwei Cao, Yipeng Liu and Chunhui Cao

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of institutional entrepreneurship in opportunity formation and opportunity exploitation in developing emerging strategic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of institutional entrepreneurship in opportunity formation and opportunity exploitation in developing emerging strategic new industries.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the focal literature focussing on institutional entrepreneurs’ role in opportunity formation with special attention to opportunities for institutional entrepreneurs in emerging economy. A multi-method approach consisting of historical case studies and event sequencing is applied to track the historical development of the solar energy industry in two case contexts and to investigate the role of institutional entrepreneurs in this process.

Findings

Investigation of two cases illustrates that different types of institutional entrepreneur, as represented by individual entrepreneurs and local government, in the context of massive institutional change – such as the Grand Western Development Program and the Thousand Talents Program in China – have varied effects on triggering and inducing institutional change and innovation to explore and exploit opportunities in emerging new industries.

Practical implications

The significance of local context for the nature and scope of institutional entrepreneurship in emerging economy is worthy of further research. The top-down process of institutional innovation dominated by local government might cause myopic outcome and distortion of market opportunities. Indigenous individual entrepreneurs with well-accumulated political capital and strong perceived responsibility could be the main actors to introduce incremental institutional change by combining bottom-up and top-down processes and promoting sustained new industry development through creating and seizing institutional opportunities and market opportunities.

Originality/value

This paper illustrates the close relationship between institutional environment and opportunity formation in emerging economies, contributes to the understanding of contextualizing institutional entrepreneurs in different regional contexts and discloses the problems involved in local government acting as an institutional entrepreneur.

Details

International Journal of Emerging Markets, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8809

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 October 2011

Xuanwei Cao and Christoph Zabe‐Brechtel

The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the dynamic interactions and co‐evolution of institutions with the technology and organization fields in emerging industry…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the dynamic interactions and co‐evolution of institutions with the technology and organization fields in emerging industry development. Insights and inspirations from comparison of the triangle relationship among government, market and local community in different institutional contexts could contribute to possible institutional innovation in the context of large‐scale institutional transition. In this way, this paper is expected to offer insights to the development of emerging industries in China.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the focal literature focusing on institutional change and the co‐evolution of institution, industry and technology. A multi‐level conceptual framework is put forward to explain the mechanism for the co‐evolution of technology, organization and institution. A multi‐case comparison method was applied to compare and disclose the process of co‐evolution of institutions, and the technology and organizational fields, as well as varied paths of industry development in different institutional contexts.

Findings

Emerging industry development in China is still presenting the character of path dependence to a great extent under traditional institutional arrangement, while the power and possible contribution from broader actors in the local community have been ignored. Driving force for a more innovative institutional transition towards emerging industry development should consider decentralized institutional arrangement and actions at local community instead of “command and control” from central planning.

Practical implications

First, the comparison of wind energy industry development in three countries creates possibilities for further analysis and reference for China's emerging industry. Second, the illustration of the triangle relationship among government, market and local community in different countries helps policy makers in China reconsider and redesign an effective institutional framework for balancing the powers among indigenous community, local government and market. Institutional alignment should be listed as an important consideration during the process of the policy design of such an effective institutional framework.

Originality/value

The paper presents a model to understand the dynamic co‐evolution of the institution, technology and organizational fields. It confirms the role of institution in promoting emerging industry development. Particularly, it offers inspirations for the development of emerging industries in nations facing large‐scale institutional transition.

Details

Journal of Science and Technology Policy in China, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1758-552X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2010

Youmin Xi, Xuanwei Cao and Liuxu Xiangli

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the indigenous He‐Xie management theory (HXMT) through the lens of a holistic perspective from Chinese philosophical wisdom.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the indigenous He‐Xie management theory (HXMT) through the lens of a holistic perspective from Chinese philosophical wisdom.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper revisited the challenges faced by orthodox management theories, proposing management scholars should borrow Eastern philosophical intelligence for problem solving when considering the tradition of Chinese culture on human orientation and its intelligence on tolerating and coping with ambiguity, uncertainty, and complexity. By tracing back the core concept of harmony in Confucianism, the paper identified the mechanisms for achieving harmony by differentiating further the general understanding of harmony and its original meaning in Chinese characters. The theoretical framework of HXMT was introduced then by integrating both evolutionism and constructivism perspectives.

Findings

The theoretical explaining power of HXMT is rooted in the time‐honored philosophies of Asia. HXMT got its gene from traditional thinking by applying dialectic and holistic perspectives. Within complex and unpredictable contexts, the existence of He‐Xie theme can replace the searching and planning to strategy. Guided by He‐Xie theme, the He principle and the Xie principle, as well as the coupling between them, compose the fundamental mechanisms for effective management and better performance in organizations.

Originality/value

The paper opens an avenue for indigenous HXMT. As a methodology for guiding management research and practice in coping with complexity and uncertainty, HXMT is expected to attract more attention from scholars to contribute to knowledge creation in Chinese management studies.

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2011

Xuanwei Cao, Xiaojun Zhang and Youmin Xi

This paper is a follow‐up to the authors' first introductive article on the emerging He‐Xie management theory (HXMT), aiming to help readers better understand the concept…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper is a follow‐up to the authors' first introductive article on the emerging He‐Xie management theory (HXMT), aiming to help readers better understand the concept of He‐Xie as well as the value of HXMT through several selected cases. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the value of HXMT in helping achieve the objectives of an ambidextrous organization in harmony.

Design/methodology/approach

The potential value and explaining power of HXMT in helping achieve effective management in organizations is explored through three diversified cases in Chinese contexts. The research is implemented through analyzing the three core constructs of HXMT, i.e. HeXie theme (HT), He principle (HP) and Xie principle (XP) and HeXie coupling (HC), as well as the consistence and alignment of them in the three cases.

Findings

In all cases, the authors found the existence of HC throughout various organizational development stages. In various organizational contexts, HT could be observed in guiding managerial activities. Through identifying periodically emerging important HT and taking related activities by following the principles of XP (reflecting optimization‐oriented activities for efficiency in practice) and HP (reflecting uncertainty‐reducing activities for efficacy in practice) accordingly, organizations could reorient themselves to avoid rigidity and organizational sclerosis on the one hand and accommodate changing environmental conditions on the other. The value of HXMT is embodied in its ambidexterity capability on applying HP and XP interactively across various organizational contexts.

Originality/value

The acceptance of the emerging HXMT in a wider scope must be grounded on an appropriate understanding of its value. This paper analyses retrospectively the management practices of some very different kinds of organizations towards the objective of harmony in organization. The authors' analysis could inspire managers to consider applying HXMT in their management practice towards an ambidextrous organization in harmony.

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

Keywords

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Emerging Markets, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8809

Content available
Article
Publication date: 31 August 2010

Check-Teck Foo

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544

Abstract

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

Content available
Article
Publication date: 14 June 2011

Check-Teck Foo

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789

Abstract

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

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Abstract

Details

Energy Economics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-780-1

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