Adaptive personnel management: evidence of an emerging heterogeneity in China's foreign trade corporation

David H. Brown, Mohamed Branine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Within the state sector the Foreign Trade Corporations (FTCs) have been at the forefront of changes arising out of China’s Open Door Policy. The FTCs have had to cope with deregulation, changes in scope and increased internal competition. Such pressures have brought about changes in personnel and management practices. What these changes are and how they relate to the Western development of human resources management (HRM) is the area of interest within this chapter. Structured into three parts, the first part focuses on reviewing concisely the recent debates around HRM and its origins in order to establish the characteristics as a basis of comparison with China’s changing personnel practices. The second part is an account of these practices and here the literature is complemented by first hand empirical evidence from 18 projects undertaken by the FTCs. Finally, the third part seeks to interpret the Chinese changes. The research confirms increased emphasis in the FTCs on strategic awareness, individuality and flexibility. In two areas, however, namely worker representation and involvement, and the empowerment of line managers, there was no evidence of significant change. These developments in the FTCs, whilst far from being widespread throughout China’s state owned enterprises, may well be a pointer to emerging personnel management practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManagement issues in China
Subtitle of host publicationdomestic enterprises
EditorsDavid H. Brown, Robin Porter
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9780415130028
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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