SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Management in China: domestic and international developments

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2021/2022
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Full Year

This module is specially designed for undergraduate study of contemporary international business and management developments in China. The course is designed to provide the student with the necessary theoretical background to enable an in-depth understanding of the opening up of China’s economy and how this affects the international business environment. It is designed to give students an overview of various aspects of Chinese economic development, as well as the challenges that it faces from a managerial science perspective.

As this module is multidisciplinary in content, students will study a wide range of relevant topics from such disciplines as economics, international trade and business management, negotiation and conflict management. A previous knowledge of these disciplines is not necessary for the study of this course. Other topics covered include the economic, historical, geographical and political background of the Chinese economy, the pre-reform economy, China's market transition and its implications for the development of a professional management class, price liberalisation and ownership reforms, labour markets, and the public and private sectors. Case studies of China's business and economic policies and institutions will give students a practical understanding of management issues in China and also offer insight into fundamental challenges facing future developments.

Upon successful completion of this module students will have acquired a firm understanding of the key elements of China’s economy from an international management 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.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of this module students should be able to:

  • Understand the economic and political consequences of the pre-reform leap forward strategy, analyse its main implications, and discuss its influences on economic reform;
  • Evaluate the coherence of China’s economic reform in the light of institutional constraints and critically analyse the major sources of economic growth;
  • Examine the current managerial mechanisms from the major theoretical perspectives, evaluate the disciplining effects of the management reforms and outline the major trade-offs facing future reforms;
  • Discuss the reform of the state sector, assess its implications from the agency and resource dependence theoretical perspectives, and critically evaluate the future role of the state industry in China’s economy;
  • Understand how insider privatisation works in China, distinguish between the main forms of private ownership in the Chinese economy and discuss their contribution to economic growth;
  • Analyse the business practices of China’s leading non-state firms and understand why connections to the state are still important;
  • 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;
  • Identify the main attributes underpinning successful partner selection and evaluate how their presence/absence might affect the performance of a joint venture, with particular reference to the investment strategies of multi-nationals;
  • 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.

Method of assessment

This module is assessed by two essays worth 15% each and 70% by one three hour examination

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