Reconciling traditional Chinese management with high-tech Taiwan

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)77-95
Journal / PublicationHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2002


The traditional view of management culture among the overseas Chinese is that of an autocratic, paternalistic and centralised organisation with low levels of trust of ‘outside’ professional managers and employees. By contrast, the organisational culture associated with successful innovation and/or high technology is that of a decentralised organisation with high levels of employee autonomy. Existing research indicates that the overseas Chinese have become successful by sticking to the business sectors compatible with their preferred management culture, and that this holds true for Taiwan. What, then, explains the Taiwanese success in high-technology ventures? This article offers initial evidence that management culture in Taiwan is adapting in order to enable industrial development in new areas. In-depth interviews with 20 Taiwanese companies indicated that the change is being led by the high-technology businesses. However, while many of these business culture changes are in a direction towards the organisational culture associated with high-technology companies, it is also clear that a strong Chinese influence remains.