Cross-cultural training of managers: an evaluation of a management development programme for Chinese managers

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Abstract

Purpose
– The main purpose of this paper is to provide an evaluation of how Chinese managers perceive and respond to training and management development programmes that have been designed and delivered by Western experts, and of the extent to which such programmes have been successful in achieving their learning outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach
– Data have been collected from experience of a management development programme for Chinese managers in 20 state‐owned enterprises, and from interviews with 45 senior Chinese managers and officials who had been involved in a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the training of Chinese managers.

Findings
– It was found that although considerable efforts had been made to train the largest possible number of managers, there was still a gap between what Chinese managers could do and what they had been expected to do in order to meet the demands of increasing economic reforms. Limited resources, inadequate means, traditional ways of learning, power relationships, and political restrictions are examples of some of the apparent obstacles to the efficient implementation of Western‐designed and delivered programmes of management development in China.

Practical implications
– Management development programmes that do not take into consideration the cultural context in which managers were brought up and taught to think and operate may not be successful. It is only when Western providers of management education understand the culturally and politically bound learning habits of the Chinese they may be able to introduce some change in management and contribute to the development of China's economic reform process.

Originality/value
– The paper is a further contribution to the ongoing debate on cross‐cultural training and could spark a useful discussion on the relevance of Western‐designed management development programmes in less developed countries in general and in China in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-472
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Management Development
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2005

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Management development
Managers
Economic reform
Evaluation
Learning outcomes
Resources
Cultural context
Habit
United Nations
State-owned enterprises
Train

Cite this

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title = "Cross-cultural training of managers: an evaluation of a management development programme for Chinese managers",
abstract = "Purpose– The main purpose of this paper is to provide an evaluation of how Chinese managers perceive and respond to training and management development programmes that have been designed and delivered by Western experts, and of the extent to which such programmes have been successful in achieving their learning outcomes.Design/methodology/approach– Data have been collected from experience of a management development programme for Chinese managers in 20 state‐owned enterprises, and from interviews with 45 senior Chinese managers and officials who had been involved in a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the training of Chinese managers.Findings– It was found that although considerable efforts had been made to train the largest possible number of managers, there was still a gap between what Chinese managers could do and what they had been expected to do in order to meet the demands of increasing economic reforms. Limited resources, inadequate means, traditional ways of learning, power relationships, and political restrictions are examples of some of the apparent obstacles to the efficient implementation of Western‐designed and delivered programmes of management development in China.Practical implications– Management development programmes that do not take into consideration the cultural context in which managers were brought up and taught to think and operate may not be successful. It is only when Western providers of management education understand the culturally and politically bound learning habits of the Chinese they may be able to introduce some change in management and contribute to the development of China's economic reform process.Originality/value– The paper is a further contribution to the ongoing debate on cross‐cultural training and could spark a useful discussion on the relevance of Western‐designed management development programmes in less developed countries in general and in China in particular.",
author = "Mohamed Branine",
year = "2005",
month = "11",
doi = "10.1108/02621710510598463",
volume = "24",
pages = "459--472",
journal = "Journal of Management Development",
issn = "0262-1711",
publisher = "Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.",
number = "5",

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AB - Purpose– The main purpose of this paper is to provide an evaluation of how Chinese managers perceive and respond to training and management development programmes that have been designed and delivered by Western experts, and of the extent to which such programmes have been successful in achieving their learning outcomes.Design/methodology/approach– Data have been collected from experience of a management development programme for Chinese managers in 20 state‐owned enterprises, and from interviews with 45 senior Chinese managers and officials who had been involved in a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the training of Chinese managers.Findings– It was found that although considerable efforts had been made to train the largest possible number of managers, there was still a gap between what Chinese managers could do and what they had been expected to do in order to meet the demands of increasing economic reforms. Limited resources, inadequate means, traditional ways of learning, power relationships, and political restrictions are examples of some of the apparent obstacles to the efficient implementation of Western‐designed and delivered programmes of management development in China.Practical implications– Management development programmes that do not take into consideration the cultural context in which managers were brought up and taught to think and operate may not be successful. It is only when Western providers of management education understand the culturally and politically bound learning habits of the Chinese they may be able to introduce some change in management and contribute to the development of China's economic reform process.Originality/value– The paper is a further contribution to the ongoing debate on cross‐cultural training and could spark a useful discussion on the relevance of Western‐designed management development programmes in less developed countries in general and in China in particular.

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