Chineseness, Chinese management and entrepreneurship: mobilizing ethnicity for strategic purposes?
Goxe, François (2009-12), Chineseness, Chinese management and entrepreneurship: mobilizing ethnicity for strategic purposes?, 2nd Asian Management and Entrepreneurship Workshop, 2009-12, Bruxelles, Belgique
TypeCommunication / Conférence
Conference title2nd Asian Management and Entrepreneurship Workshop
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract (EN)Dwelling on the meteoric rise of the Chinese economy, countless books intend to describe and analyze the reasons for such growth. A specific, but increasingly popular, trend has focused on the hypothetical renaissance of an “ancient Chinese management thought” (中国古代经济管理思想 – Zhongguo gudai jingjiguanli sixiang) with the purpose of finding back in the Chinese cultural and philosophical traditions some of the foundations of modern management, a discipline usually typically considered of Western origin (Faure, 2003). To our understanding, these researches appear to be based on two major premises. First, researchers, influenced by anthropology and, to a lesser extent, sociology, have defined and considered Confucianism and a number of Asian/Chinese values and practices (e.g. trust, loyalty, face, guanxi etc.) as common, transnational, elements allegedly unifying mainland China and, to a certain extent, part of East Asia. Second, these values and practices have been erected as the cultural pillars of “Chinese management” and “Chinese entrepreneurship”, first examined in the ethnic Chinese world (i.e. overseas Chinese communities, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong) and now mainland China. If something called “Chinese values” or “Chineseness” and, consequently, “Chinese management” or “Chinese entrepreneurship” exists, we believe these values and practices, frequently claimed as unique, and the existence of a singular Chinese management mode, to be potentially manipulated for strategic purposes, by political authorities as well as business organizations. The purpose of this article is to examine the aforementioned premises and to question the notions of Chineseness / Chinese ethnicity and values and Chinese management from a strategic perspective. We propose to consider two major reasons for the emergence of “Chinese values” and “Chinese management”: political and economic / entrepreneurial. From a political standpoint, the increasing popularity of Chinese values and a “Chinese way of development” or, at organizational level, a “Chinese management”, may be considered a new form of “Asianism” or New Confucianism. From an economic and entrepreneurial standpoint, we defend that these notions can be utilized as a strategic resource for the international development of (ethnic) Chinese firms toward Western (i.e. non-Chinese) business partners / competitors.
Subjects / KeywordsStrategic use of ethnicity
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