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Context, Comparison, and Methodology in Chinese Management Research

17 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2011  

John Child

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 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.

Keywords: China, co‐evolution, comparison, context, ideational systems, material systems, methodology

Suggested Citation

Child, John, Context, Comparison, and Methodology in Chinese Management Research (March 2009). Management and Organization Review, Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp. 57-73, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1892643 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-8784.2008.00136.x

John Child (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School ( email )

Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham, B15 2TY
United Kingdom

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