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Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS)

Management In China: International Perspectives

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This course has been specially designed for postgraduate study of contemporary international business and management developments in China. In studying this course, you will increase the depth of your understanding of the opening up of China's economy and how this affects the international business environment. You will study recent and contemporary developments in Chinese management practices, focusing particularly on policies for trade, foreign investment and technology transfer, and on the relationship between the PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

As this course is multi-disciplinary in content, covering such topics as economics, international trade and business management, negotiation and conflict management, you will find that it will add to your previous study of any of these disciplines. A previous knowledge of management is not necessary to complete this course. Whatever your background, you will acquire a firm understanding of the key elements of China's economy from an international perspective. In order to achieve this, a strong emphasis is placed on the relationship between theoretical managerial concepts and how they relate to real world business issues.


Study Guide

You will receive a looseleaf binder containing eight 'course units'. The units are carefully structured to provide the main teaching, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the further assigned readings. The unit files are also available to download from the Online Study Centre.

  • Naughton, Barry (2007) The Chinese Economy: Transition and Growth, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  • Tian, X (2007) Managing International Business in China, Cambridge University Press.

You will receive three volumes of readings, which consist of recently published articles or seminal writings which augment and illustrate the main text.

Online Study Centre

You will have access to the OSC, which is a web-accessed learning environment. Via the OSC, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the course using discussion forums. The OSC also provides access to the course Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

When you have completed your study of this course you will be able to:

  • outline the economic and political consequences and the key features of China’s rapid economic growth, and discuss their implications for the regional and global economies;
  • discuss the changes that have taken place in China’s trade policy, particularly since the 1990s, and evaluate the importance of such trade reforms as the WTO;
  • evaluate the pace, scale and form of recent Foreign Direct Investment trends in China and the specific features of China’s development that underpin its attractiveness for foreign investments;
  • distinguish between the different concepts of Greater China, evaluate the implications of a Greater China for both for the region and global trade and, in particular, explain why political controls on trade in the region have proved illusionary;
  • discuss the importance of business networks and relational capital, and their role in facilitating network linkages between Taiwan and Mainland China;
  • with reference to the investment strategies of multi-nationals, identify the main attributes underpinning successful partner selection and evaluate how their presence/absence might affect the performance of a joint venture;
  • explain the influence of traditional and contemporary culture in Chinese negotiations and how it influences the Chinese negotiation style;
  • evaluate the trade offs between strategic and operational control, the potential for organisational/environmental conflicts and discuss how these conflicts can be resolved in a constructive manner.

Scope and syllabus

Course Units
Unit 1: Key Perspectives and Reforms
  • 1.1 A General Background
  • 1.2 Growth Compared
  • 1.3 Key Analytical Perspectives
  • 1.4 Main Weaknesses in the Field of Management
  • 1.5 Concluding Remarks
Unit 2: International Trade
  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Trade Reform in the 1990s and Beyond
  • 2.3 China and the World Trade Organisation
  • 2.4 WTO Implementation Efforts
  • 2.5 China as the World’s Factory and Market
  • 2.6 Concluding Remarks
Unit 3: Foreign Direct Investment
  • 3.1 FDI in China – Pace, Scale and Form
  • 3.2 Why Do Countries Seek FDI?
  • 3.3 Institutional and Policy Factors
  • 3.4 Concluding Remarks
Unit 4: Economic Integration – Hong Kong and Taiwan
  • 4.1 Hong Kong, Taiwan and Greater China
  • 4.2 Economic Integration between Taiwan and Mainland China
  • 4.3 Illusions of Control and the Costs of Official Barriers to Trade
  • 4.4 Globalisation and Cross Straits Integration
  • 4.5 Concluding Remarks – A Greater China?
Unit 5: Business Networks and Investment by Overseas Chinese
  • 5.1 Network Linkages and Location Choice
  • 5.2 Networked Investors from Taiwan
  • 5.3 Business Partnership in Local China – Some Distinctive Features
  • 5.4 The Clustered IT Industry in Dongguan, Suzhou and Shanghai
  • 5.5 Concluding Remarks
Unit 6: Investment Strategies and Joint Ventures
  • 6.1 Distinct Investment Strategies
  • 6.2 Going Alone or in Partnership?
  • 6.3 Partner Selection – MNCs’ Perspective
  • 6.4 Partner Selection – Chinese Perspectives
  • 6.5 Case Study – Coca Cola
  • 6.6 Concluding Remarks
Unit 7: Negotiating with the Chinese
  • 7.1 The Negotiation Challenge
  • 7.2 Cultural Roots of the Chinese Negotiation Style
  • 7.3 Agrarian Mentalities
  • 7.4 Major Features of Chinese Negotiation Style
  • 7.5 Tips for the Art of Negotiations with Chinese
  • 7.6 Conclusions
Unit 8: Managing Business Alliances in China
  • 8.1 Typology of Business Alliances
  • 8.2 Control Structure within the Alliance
  • 8.3 Constructive Conflict Management
  • 8.4 Major Approaches for Conflict Resolution
  • 8.5 Conclusions

Method of assessment

You will complete two Assignments which will be marked by your tutor. Assignments are each worth 15% of your total mark. You will be expected to submit your first assignment by the Tuesday of Week 5, and the second assignment at the end of the course, on the Tuesday after Week 8. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. In addition, queries and problems can be answered through the Online Study Centre. You will also sit a three-hour examination on a specified date in October, worth 70% of your total mark. An up-to-date timetable of examinations is published on the website in April each year.