Developing international organizational change theory using cases from China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-499
Journal / PublicationHuman Relations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


This article contributes to international theory development by examining organizational change (OC) in mainland China. Eight case studies of a single type of OC, business process re-engineering (BPR), reveal that Chinese organizations diverged consistently from initially planned changes. Change context is found to influence not only the process of change, but also the content and even the objectives of change. Since specific practices carry implicit values, the congruence with existing values influences OC implementation significantly. Multinational organizations must recognize that a specific practice or policy can represent very different changes in different contexts. Copyright © 2009 The Tavistock Institute.

Research Area(s)

  • Case studies, Chinese management, Comparative management, Institutional theory, Organizational change