Transferring management practices to China: a Bourdieusian critique of ethnocentricity

Siebers, L.Q. ORCID: 0000-0002-2664-9065, Kamoche, K. and Li, F., 2015. Transferring management practices to China: a Bourdieusian critique of ethnocentricity. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26 (5), pp. 551-573. ISSN 0958-5192


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This paper provides a critique of the emergent theories of human resource management in China with a view to generating new theoretical insights with particular reference to Pierre Bourdieu’s social theory. It re-assesses the relevance of the orthodox critique of ethnocentricity and the coherence of approaches embedded in Chinese culture. With reference to six case studies of the largest retail firms, we identify two key challenges: the reliance on headquarter human resource practices that reflect an ethnocentric ethos, i.e. country-of-origin bias, and the failure to empower local managers and the problems this creates for managers expected to implement ethnocentric practices. We examine how Bourdieu’s social theory sheds light on the processes by which these firms realise their strategic objectives through the complicity of local managers whose scope for resistance is constrained by the use of normative control and in part through attractive remuneration and career prospects that generate Bourdieusian capital for these managers. We conclude with some suggestions for further research.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Human Resource Management
Creators: Siebers, L.Q., Kamoche, K. and Li, F.
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: Abingdon
Date: 2015
Volume: 26
Number: 5
ISSN: 0958-5192
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:42
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:36

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