Assessing and extending the unique contributions of Chinese management studies

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The field of Chinese management studies has grown tremendously over the past four decades. Despite an increasing interest in uniquely Chinese phenomena, Western management theories have long been the dominant perspectives for understanding Chinese firms and managers. Yet, the explanatory potential of our current theoretical toolkit remains unelucidated in non-Western contexts. Through a matched-samples meta-analysis, which integrates matching techniques into meta-analysis, we compare the mean effect sizes for five classic Western management theories (i.e. institutional theory, resource dependence theory, the resource-based view, agency theory, transaction cost theory) on 452 matched samples drawn from 1,028 U.S. and Chinese studies. Results show that, contrary to popular belief, Chinese firms (a) are less responsive to coercive and mimetic pressures yet more subject to normative forces, (b) are less focused on establishing relational ties when faced with resource dependencies and transaction costs, (c) are better at managing strategic resources for profit, and (d) respond better to pay incentives than their U.S. counterparts. To understand the specificities of Chinese management practices, we furthermore conduct a focused review of the emerging literature on China-endemic explanations: political institutional imprinting theory, a specifically Chinese take on sustainable development, and a China-specific theory of corporate governance.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberBest Papers
Number of pages6
JournalAcademy of Management. Annual Meeting Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


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