Business Leadership in the Chinese Context
During the past three decades, the world has witnessed China’s rise from an underdeveloped country to the third largest economic power. Business leaders have taken a crucial role in developing the firms during this period, which constitutes the most powerful driving force for the rapid growth of the Chinese economy. While business leaders have made significant contributions to China’s economic and societal development via their unprecedented achievements, scholars have not systematically examined their leadership practices and, thus, have not developed rigorous theories to explain these practices. Among the vast amounts of literature on leadership, very few are on business leadership in the Chinese context. Researchers, educators, and practitioners are all aware that the Western-based leadership theories are not completely sufficient to understand the rich and unique leadership phenomenon in the Chinese context. To fully understand the miracle of the Chinese economy, it is essential to identify the unique issues in business leadership in the Chinese context.
The purpose of this special issue is to examine leadership in organizations at different levels, in different domains, or from different perspectives aimed at offering valuable insights into the organizational leadership phenomenon in Greater China. We intend to advance leadership research in the Chinese context, to improve leadership practices, and to add novel knowledge to global leadership literature.
China’s distinctive political, social and cultural environments have been regarded as the major factors breeding the leadership styles in Chinese business organizations. In addition, the unique characteristics of Chinese firms, which have been evolving in a transitional era, also play a major role in shaping the special leadership patterns in Chinese organizations. In the early state, leaders had to make arduous efforts to build legitimacy and to protect themselves in various ways such as registering a private firm as a collective one or getting a ‘red hat’ by registering a firm as a subsidiary or supplemental unit of a State-Owned Enterprise. Some business leaders skillfully adapted themselves to the changing environments and led their companies successfully.
Starting from the late 1990s and, in particular, after China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Chinese government has opened its market to the outside world in almost all business sectors. In the domestic market, Chinese firms have to fiercely compete with strong foreign companies, many of which are multinational giants. Pessimists predicted that Chinese firms were not ready and would be overwhelmed by their international counterparts. However, many Chinese firms have not only survived, but also gained advantages in competing with foreign firms. Some Chinese firms have not only dominated the domestic market, but also started to share the international markets with multinational companies. While we can attribute the success of Chinese firms to different factors, we have no doubt that business leadership plays a crucial role in achieving such performance.
In this special issue, we seek manuscripts investigating leadership practices in Greater China and offering theories to understand these practices, which may present conceptualizations or/and findings that differ from, if not challenge, Western-imported theories. We expect this special issue to enrich our understanding of business leadership in the dynamic Chinese context by producing meaningful and valid knowledge. We highlight a Chinese perspective in examining business leadership in China. Broadly, any study that incorporates the Chinese context and offers conceptual and theoretical explanations on business leadership in the Chinese context is welcome. We invite submissions that either modify or extend the well-accepted leadership theories or develop innovative theories based on grounded/inductive approaches. We invite submissions that conduct rigorous research using either qualitative (case study, interview, grounded theory, or ethnographic methods, etc.) or quantitative approaches (survey, laboratory experiment, analyzing archival data, etc.). Purely conceptual papers are also welcome. You are encouraged to identify and choose meaningful and important problems based on your keen observation, your in-depth knowledge, or your astute analysis of business leadership and related phenomena in the Chinese context.
Submissions could address, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- The evolving pattern of leadership in Chinese business organizations;
- Business leadership in the transitional era in China;
- The characteristics of Chinese business leadership;
- Indigenous models of Chinese business leadership and their functioning mechanisms;
- Cultural and social antecedents of leadership;
- Economic and social consequences of Chinese business leadership;
- Implicit theories of Chinese leadership;
- Leader-member exchange (LMX) in Chinese societies;
- Business leadership and team dynamics;
- The nature of transformational leadership in Chinese organizations;
- Newly emerging leadership styles (e.g., authentic leadership, servant leadership, and ethical leadership, etc.) in the Chinese context;
- Multiple intelligences (e.g., emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence) and business leadership in Chinese societies
- Cross-cultural and comparative studies of business leadership
- The similarity and diversity of business leadership in different Chinese societies (including mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong )
- Cross-level business leadership.