Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Multinationals In Emerging China Should Stick To Their Own Ways Of Managing

18.01.2008
When it comes to breaking into the lucrative Chinese market, foreign multinational retailers should keep largely to their own, time-tested management techniques, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Rather than struggle to adapt to the Chinese cultural environment, firms from the UK and elsewhere are better advised to hone and refine existing managerial and technical expertise, argues Dr Jos Gamble, of Royal Holloway, University of London. A fluent Chinese speaker, he interviewed management and staff in eight Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, as well as key people in the UK and Japan.

His findings also dispel claims that foreign retailers offer only ‘dead-end’ jobs in their Chinese subsidiaries. On the contrary, he says, such organisations can provide workers with significant opportunities to prosper and improve their skills. Rising prosperity and a rapidly commercialising economy have transformed China into the world’s most important emerging market. Multinational retailers have rapidly built up their presence since foreign participation was allowed in 1992.

By conducting case studies of UK and Japanese retailers and their off-shoots in China, Dr Gamble set out to examine how these global organisations transfer management practices and retail concepts to their overseas subsidiaries. In China, the main approach of the Japanese and UK firms was to try to replicate the store procedures, employment relations and customer service standards of their parent company.

For both customer service and people management, this meant that companies often reflected their home country practices, so they were different from each other, as well as from local Chinese norms and practices.

However, the study found that, in some ways, retailers did diverge from practices back at home.

Japanese firms, for instance, took on far more women supervisors in China compared with their stores in Japan. And a UK multinational followed local practice with its use of large numbers of sales staff employed by product suppliers rather than directly by the stores.

Dr Gamble said: “These findings indicate that while it is possible to transfer culturally innovative practices, those that run counter to institutional features - such as the nature of the local labour markets - are much harder to implement.” Japanese companies were more prescriptive and detailed in their way of dealing with customers than the UK-owned stores, which encouraged workers to adapt behaviour they used in everyday life.

Said Dr Gamble: “The Japanese approach to customer service was particularly innovative in the Chinese context. Whilst, initially, local customer response was quite negative, it rapidly achieved acceptance as a form of ‘best practice’.” Most employees believed that their jobs would improve their skills level and employability, contradicting widely held concerns about ‘de-skilling’ of labour in the service sector.

Contrary to expectations, a UK firm examined for the study provided at least as much opportunity in this respect as Japanese companies.

And there were high levels of satisfaction about foreign retailers’ human resource techniques. Even people in apparently menial and ‘dead-end’ jobs, such as checkout staff and warehouse workers, felt that their jobs provided learning opportunities and chances for self-improvement

Dr Gamble said: “Most of the world’s major global retail firms are desperate to grab a slice of the largest and most rapidly growing emerging market. All the evidence suggests that, whilst it may be necessary to adapt to some extent to local conditions, time-tested management practices actually translate well across cultures.”

Danielle Moore | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Microtechnology industry is hiring – positive developments of past years continue
09.04.2018 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

nachricht RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index with minor decline on a high overall level
20.03.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>