CHAN Kwok-bun (Hong Kong Baptist University), and Leo DOUW (University of Amsterdam), Differences, Conflicts and Innovations: An Emergent Transnational Management Culture in China , English/25 pages, February 2006.


This paper is an introduction chapter of a book, Conflict and Innovation: Joint Ventures in China , which is co-edited by Chan Kwok-bun and Leo Douw and will be published in late 2006 by Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands.   The book reports on a number of case studies of international joint ventures in China.   This paper examines how conflicts between Chinese workers and western investors arise, evolve and get resolved in Sino-foreign joint ventures in China.   We hypothesize that conflicts as such can be functional and/or dysfunctional, an idea traceable to the sociological writings of Marx, Simmel and Coser.   The conflict-resolution process witnesses all parties engaging in a process of purposeful learning and unlearning and creating a new sinified corporate culture that best suits the evolving business culture and social milieu in China today.   We argue that the socio-economic and cultural convergence between China and the West has produced a common hybrid of cross-cultural innovations in China or, in a global perspective, ¡§alternative cultural globalizations¡¨, as Peter Berger calls it.   This hybridizing convergence is best exemplified by the gradual localization and sinification of the Western corporate culture in Sino-foreign enterprises in China today.   This sinification of the Western corporate culture goes through a dialectical process of localization of the global and globalization of the local. That is, the key issue is not so much ascertaining which culture dominates as the fact that it is a ¡§mixed system¡¨. This mixed system signifies a cultural hybridity with a boundary that is never fixed, but is fragmented, fractured, and shifting.    Any seemingly unchanging cultural identity is destabilized, deconstructed and reconstructed across diverse socio-cultural milieux in the era of globalization.