China - Economics
Is there a Chinese style of management?
Cai Yuelei argues that the Chinese management should include studies such as how to rule a country, people, family and oneself. She believes that only after gradual self improvement can a person run a family or a country well. From Beijing.
China’s reforming and opening-up is a kind of innovation, and there is not much to copy. It is said that Chinese can only try to do things by themselves. So, there must have a Chinese style of management.
What is the main content of Chinese style of management? At present, there exists a misunderstanding of it. Some think that Chinese style of management mainly studies the management model of some successful Chinese enterprises. I think this kind of understanding is quite improper. For example, about 20 years after China’s reform and opening-up, China’s great macroeconomic development attracts worldwide attention. Don’t we have anything special for us to summarize and promote? Moreover, we can’t discuss the development of Chinese enterprises in the absence of the global environment.
The main contents of Chinese style of management should include the following aspects: studies on how to rule a country, guide people, run a family and direct oneself. It has not only covered each aspect in management practice, but also comply with logic of the old saying of the Confucians in ancient China – “the most important thing for a person in his life is that only after gradual self improvement can he run a family or a country well’.
Chinese style of management includes not merely the micro level of individual and company, but also level of industry and region, even includes macro level of national management as well as the integration and creative transition of management culture. Entire Chinese economic practice is a whole, and we must adopt a systematic viewpoint when studying Chinese style of management. Otherwise, the discussion cannot go further and cannot get some elements of its essentials.
Ruling a country refers to national management. The theory of ruling a country is to discuss the managerial ideas and practical points when Chinese leaders run the whole nation since ancient days. Chinese people have witnessed the turning of dynasties and the infiltration of various foreign cultures since ancient days. Therefore, they have rich experiences in the ideas, rules and methods of running a country.
Chinese people have witnessed the turning of dynasties and the infiltration of foreign cultures. They have rich experiences in running a country.
As for the ideas of running a country, the most representative ones include: natural laws controlling nature; benefiting society and developing nation; combining rites and regulations with laws; and doing everything for the benefits and interests of their people.
As for the rules, the representative ones include: running a country with virtue; combining the method of ruling a country by laws with the method of ruling a country with virtue; being vigilant in peace time; insuring people having comfortable life; proper attention on centralization and decentralization of state power; and opening-up and innovating.
As for the methods, the representative ones include: running a country according to the natural laws; running a country only through strict laws and regulations; and running a country only with virtue.
Since reforming and opening-up, China has gotten huge achievements in its economic development. All the ideas, theories and experiences of running a country need to be further summarized.
Ruling a life refers to seeking a living. The theory of ruling a life is to discuss the ideas and essences in practice how Chinese people control their lives since ancient days. This theory in eastern management is based on the moral sense that virtue is more important than wealth and on the ethic thought which include honesty, sincerity, justice, mercy. It also depends on the discovered objective economic laws, as well as the strategic plan, marketing, personnel management and quality management. Therefore, the theory of ruling a life particularly lays emphasis on ruling a life with virtue and benefiting oneself without harming others, and it also emphasizes the social responsibility that enterprises should carry on. Additionally, the experience of China’s modern regional economic development, industrial policy-making and industrial structural adjustment need to be summarized.
Ruling a family refers to family management. This theory is to discuss the ideas and practical points of family management since ancient days. Family is not only the earliest place of individual socialization, but also the safe place for people who go out for a livelihood. A Chinese old saying goes: “If the family lives in harmony, all affairs will go well”. Chinese have a kind of special emotion to their families. Some even think Chinese culture is a family-oriented culture. Therefore, it is quite necessary to include family management into enterprises management. It is a great defect in modern management that it hasn’t included family management. However, the development of clan enterprises is one of the important forms of private enterprises in modern China. It is our mission to research the development, transition and heritage of clan enterprises.
Some even think Chinese culture is a family-oriented culture. It is quite necessary to include family management into enterprises management.
Running oneself refers to self management. This theory is to discuss the ideas and practical points of individual improvements since ancient days. Self management is the key to individual success and is the logic foundation of running a family, a life and a country. In Chinese traditional management thoughts, self management is a kind of individual experience and self cultivation. It is an unceasing process of accumulating achievements. It is also to conquer the selfish desire and it is the gradual improvement of our body, soul, spirit, emotion and wisdom. It must be achieved by a person´s self-realization, self-judgment, self-selection and own efforts. One can decide his own fate if he can determine his own life value and direction according to the objective laws and through conscious self-consideration and self-selection. The theory of self management is an important content of Chinese style of management and it is also a crucial characteristic which distinguish itself from western management.
Effective management is crucial for the success of an individual, a family, an enterprise and a country. Management philosophy focuses on human deeds; management execution on harmony and management goal on efficiency. The essence of Chinese style of management is emphasized “human orientation, morality priority, and behavioral cultivation by self-discipline”, which is proven correct by ancient and contemporary management process and practice.
“Human orientation” means that all managerial activities should be people-centered so as to achieve full human development and realization. “Human orientation” was introduced by Guanzi (600 BC) in his book Guanzi bayan. But his thought is still a tool to govern common people. Afterwards, Mengzi, another great thinker in ancient China, put forward “common people noble”, whose meaning is more close to the modern management philosophy, “serving people as they are lords”, which are derived from the continuing evidence throughout Chinese history. However, the real practice often deviates from this thought. Fortunately, Chinese top leaders have realized the importance of “human orientation” in recent years, and take it as the basic guidance to direct government. “Human orientation” is expected to penetrate from top down to government at different levels, families and individuals in near future.
“Morality priority” emphasizes the role of morality in management. To order team members and subordinates, leaders can depend on both authority given by the position, and personal charm and personality. Oriental management takes much count of the latter. It encourages managers to build their moral authority through self-discipline and then unintentionally influence the subordinates. At the same time, the subordinates should realize self-management to finish tasks through self-discipline. The book titled Lunyu yaoyue points out that individual action should be directed in accordance with “five norms”, among which “composed but not arrogant” and “powerful but not aggressive” are both perfect explanations of the “morality priority”.
“Behavioral cultivation by self-discipline” demands both leaders and subordinates to keep an eye on their own behavior and make necessary adjustment to render better service to others. In this way, we can establish a friendly atmosphere and good relationship with others to motivate people’s passion of self-realization. When putting “behavioral cultivation by self-discipline” into practice, it focuses on role modeling, reasonable empower and self-management. In Qing dynasty, Zen Guofan’s governance of troops and family is a model of implementing “behavioral cultivation by self-discipline”.