Theorizing Chinese employment relations comparatively: exchange, reciprocity and the moral economy
Westwood, RI, Chan, A & Linstead, S 2004, 'Theorizing Chinese employment relations comparatively: exchange, reciprocity and the moral economy', Asia Pacific Journal of Management, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 365-389.
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This paper contrasts the socio-cultural systems underpinning employment relations in the West and in the Overseas Chinese case. The analysis centres on the norm of reciprocity which, whilst taken as a universal phenomena, exhibits significant cross-cultural variation. Western employment relations are characterised by a model of impersonal rational economic exchange in which individuals engage in a utility calculus. Chinese employment relations remain more fully embedded in the wider socio-cultural system of which reciprocity is a vital and integral part. Employment relations are sustained by a personalistic tacit moral order. The implications for managing employment relations in changing and multi-cultural situations are discussed. The sustainabilty of the different employment relations systems are also discussed.