Context, Comparison, and Methodology in Chinese Management Research
University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School
Management and Organization Review, Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp. 57-73, 2009
In this paper, I accept Whetten's (2009) view that it is necessary to investigate Chinese management in a way that takes account of its context in order to assess the extent to which its features are context‐specific or context‐bounded. The first requirement, therefore, is to develop a way of conceptualising and measuring that context. A framework articulating material, ideational and institutional contextual features is offered to that end. Second, I argue that both ‘outside in’ and ‘inside out’ approaches to the study of Chinese management require comparison between China and other countries. Even a theory that claims uniqueness for China needs to have that claim tested through external comparison. We, therefore, have to employ a methodology that allows for valid comparisons between context and management in China and other countries. This paper focuses on these two issues of context and methodology with reference to comparative research. It examines them in turn and closes by arguing that the choice Barney and Zhang (2009) pose – between a Chinese theory of management and a theory of Chinese management – needs to be reframed within a more dynamic evolutionary perspective.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: China, co‐evolution, comparison, context, ideational systems, material systems, methodology
Date posted: July 24, 2011