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简介:HR 资料 The International Journal of Human Resource Management Informal institutional constraints and their impact on HRM and employee satisfaction: evidence from China's retail sector

Thisarticlewasdownloadedby:[DeMontfortUniversity]On:23January2012,At:07:34Publisher:RoutledgeInformaLtdRegisteredinEnglandandWalesRegisteredNumber:1072954Registeredoffice:MortimerHouse,37-41MortimerStreet,LondonW1T3JH,UKTheInternationalJournalofHumanResourceManagementPublicationdetails,includinginstructionsforauthorsandsubscriptioninformation:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rijh20InformalinstitutionalconstraintsandtheirimpactonHRMandemployeesatisfaction:evidencefromChina'sretailsectorQihaiHuanga&JosGamblebaLancasterUniversityManagementSchool,Lancaster,UKbSchoolofManagement,RoyalHolloway,UniversityofLondon,Surrey,UKAvailableonline:05Apr2011Tocitethisarticle:QihaiHuang&JosGamble(2011):InformalinstitutionalconstraintsandtheirimpactonHRMandemployeesatisfaction:evidencefromChina'sretailsector,TheInternationalJournalofHumanResourceManagement,22:15,3168-3186Tolinktothisarticle:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2011.560879PLEASESCROLLDOWNFORARTICLEFulltermsandconditionsofuse:http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsThisarticlemaybeusedforresearch,teaching,andprivatestudypurposes.Anysubstantialorsystematicreproduction,redistribution,reselling,loan,sub-licensing,systematicsupply,ordistributioninanyformtoanyoneisexpresslyforbidden.Thepublisherdoesnotgiveanywarrantyexpressorimpliedormakeanyrepresentationthatthecontentswillbecompleteoraccurateoruptodate.Theaccuracyofanyinstructions,formulae,anddrugdosesshouldbeindependentlyverifiedwithprimarysources.Thepublishershallnotbeliableforanyloss,actions,claims,proceedings,demand,orcostsordamageswhatsoeverorhowsoevercausedarisingdirectlyorindirectlyinconnectionwithorarisingoutoftheuseofthismaterial.InformalinstitutionalconstraintsandtheirimpactonHRMandemployeesatisfaction:evidencefromChina’sretailsectorQihaiHuanga*andJosGamblebaLancasterUniversityManagementSchool,Lancaster,UK;bSchoolofManagement,RoyalHolloway,UniversityofLondon,Surrey,UKThispaperseekstoassesswhetherinformalinstitutionscanaffecthumanresourcemanagementpractices.Specifically,weexaminewhetherthesocialnormofrespectforauthority,animportantinformalsocialinstitutionincountrieslikeChina,constrainsemployeeparticipation,andwhetherthisaffectsemployeesatisfactioninforeign-investedandstate-ownedretailersinChina,respectively.Dataarederivedfromquestionnairescompletedbyalmost1900employeesat22foreign-investedandstate-ownedretailstoresinnineChinesecities.Weindicatethatanormsuchasrespectforauthoritycanoperateasaconstraintonhumanresourcemanagementpracticessuchasemployeeparticipationwithrelatedimpactsuponsatisfactionlevelsinforeign-investedandstate-ownedretailers,butthattheseplayoutinunexpectedways.Keywords:China;HRM;institutions;participation;respectforauthority;retailIntroductionEffectivehumanresourcesmanagementcanbringcompetitiveadvantagestofirmsandisoftenconsideredasacriticaldeterminantoforganizationalperformanceandprofitability(e.g.Huselid1995;FeyandBjorkman2001;BjorkmanandFan2002;Lau,TseandZhou2002;Law,TseandZhou2003;Sun,AryeeandLaw2007).Meanwhile,itiswidelybelievedthatpowerfulinstitutions,whichincludebothformalorganizations–social,economicandpoliticalbodies–andthesocialnormsandrulesthattheseorganizationsarticulate(North1990;Scott1995),canconstrainthestyleofmanagement,suchastheformofhumanresourcesmanagement,asinstitutionalinertiamaydrivefirms’choicesofhumanresourcemanagement(HRM)practices(Buck,Filatotchev,DeminaandWright2003;Warner2008).Althoughresearchersincreasinglyexaminetheimportanceofinstitutionsinshapingbusinesspracticesintransitionaleconomies(e.g.ChildandTse2001;Lawetal.2003;Peng2003;MeyerandPeng2005),muchremainstobedone,especiallywithrespecttotheroleandimpactofinformalinstitutions.Muchresearchhasfocusedontheinfluenceofformalinstitutionsonmanagement,suchaslegislation,ownershipandregionaldevelopment(e.g.Tang1993;Child1994;Warner1996;Lauetal.2002;Lawetal.2003;MeyerandPeng2005;Bjorkman,FeyandPark2007).Whileformalinstitutionalchangeshavebeenimplemented,though,informalinstitutionsmaylagbehind.North(1990)arguesthatinformalconstraintscomefromtheculturaltransmissionofvalues,underpinnedbyideologicalreinforcements.DevelopingISSN0958-5192print/ISSN1466-4399onlineq2011Taylor&Francishttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2011.560879http://www.tandfonline.com*Correspondingauthor.Email:qihai.huang@lancaster.ac.ukTheInternationalJournalofHumanResourceManagement,Vol.22,No.15,September2011,3168–3186Downloadedby[DeMontfortUniversity]at07:3423January2012normsofbehaviourthatwillsupportandlegitimizenewformalrulesisalengthy,incrementalprocess(North1994).Theinertiaofinformalinstitutionalstructuresislikelytoinhibittheapplicationofnewmanagementprescriptions(Gooderham,NordhaugandRingdal1999;ChildandTse2001).Sofar,muchlessattentionhasbeenpaidtotheroleofinformalinstitutions,whichmayconstrainmanagementpracticesandaccordinglyfirmperformance.OurstudyaimstofillsuchagapbyassessingtheconstraintsofinformalinstitutionswithspecificreferencetothenormofrespectforauthorityonemployeeparticipationandsatisfactioninretailersinChina.EmployeeparticipationisreportedtobeakeyelementofhighperformanceHRMsystems(e.g.Huselid1995;Pfeffer1998;BoxallandPurcell2003).IntheChinesecontext,respectforhierarchyhasbeenbuiltintothesocialstructureoforganizations(Farh,EarleyandLin1997),whichstillguideindividualactionsandattitudesinmodernChinesesocieties(HofstedeandBond1988).Suchanormmayconstrainoratleastaffectthestylesofcommunicationacrossorganizationalhierarchiesandemployeeparticipation,whichinturnmayhaveanimpactonemployeesatisfaction.Inexploringthisdimension,thecurrentpaperalsotestsassumptionsabouttheimpactandefficacyofparticipativemanagementstylesinanon-Westerncontext.Thecontributionofthispaperistwofold.First,itconstitutesanearlyattempttoassesstheimpactofinformalinstitutionsonhumanresourcesmanagement,whichispoorlyunderstoodinbothChinaandothertransitionaleconomies.Transitionaleconomiesarenotonlyanideallaboratorytoassesstheimpactofformalinstitutionalchanges,butalsoofinformalinstitutionsonmanagementandperformance.AsPeng(2000)postulates,forinstance,China’ssocialinstitutionsremaincentraltounderstandinghowfirmsoperateandperforminthiscountry.Second,itusesauniquelargesurveydatabasecollectedintheretailsectorinChina.Researchexaminingtheinfluenceofinstitutionsintransitionaleconomiestendstofocusonthemanufacturingsector(e.g.Lauetal.2002;Lawetal.2003),withdataoftendrawnsolelyfromthesurveysofmanagers(e.g.Lawetal.2003;Bjorkmanetal.2007).InChina,ChildandTse(2001)claimthattheentryofforeignventuresintheretailsectorhasengenderedfundamentalandfar-reachingchanges.However,withfewexceptions(e.g.Gamble2003,2006)thereislittleempiricalresearchthatexamineswhetherforeignretailershaveadopteddifferentHRMpracticescomparedwithindigenousfirmsandnonethatfocusesonemployeeparticipation.Ourdataincludebothmanagersandshop-flooremployeesinindigenousandforeign-investedretailers.Inthefollowingsections,wefirstoutlinetheresearchcontext,followedbyareviewoftheliteratureoninstitutions,andthepotentialimpactsofthenormofrespectforauthorityonemployeeparticipationandemployeesatisfactionwiththesepractices.Wethenproposeanumberofhypothesesandtestthemusingsurveydata,followedbyadiscussionofthefindings.Wedrawouttheimplicationsforbothmanagementandtheorybeforeabriefdiscussiononfutureresearchandaconclusion.ResearchcontextSinceChina’s‘opendoor’andreformpolicybeganinthelate1970s,substantialinstitutionalchangeshavedismantledmanybarrierstomodernbusinessoperations(Child1994;Warner1996;ChildandTse2001;Warner2008).Forexample,theintroductionoflabourcontractsinthelate1980sandthe‘threesystems’reformsintroducedintheearly1990sgavefirmsgreaterautonomytohire,promoteandevenfireworkers(Warner1996).Toaconsiderableextent,alabourmarkethasbeenestablishedthroughformalinstitutionalchanges.Sincetransitionisapath-dependenttransformationTheInternationalJournalofHumanResourceManagement3169Downloadedby[DeMontfortUniversity]at07:3423January2012(ChildandTse2001),itislikelythatbothformalandinformalinstitutionscaninhibitfirmsfromadoptinginstitutionalsolutionswhichconventionaleconomictheorywouldregardasoptimal.Infact,informalinstitutionsmaylagbehind.AsNorth(1994)pointsout,developingnormsofbehaviourthatwillsupportandlegitimizenewformalrulesisalengthy,incrementalprocess.Theretailsectorisofgreateconomicandsocialsignificancenotonlyinthedevelopedworldbutalsointhedevelopingcountries.InthecaseofChina,theoverwhelmingfocusonitsroleasaglobalmanufacturingbaseneglectstheimportanceoftheservicesectorinthatcountry.AccordingtothePeople’sDaily(2004),theproportionofChina’sGDPaccountedforbytheservicesectorincreasedfrom21.4%in1978to33.7%in2002.Inthesameperiod,thenumberofpeopleemployedinthissectorrosefromjust48.9milliontoover210million.ItisestimatedthatthecontributionofthissectortoChina’sGDPwillbe50–60%in2020.Asamajorcomponentoftheservicesector,theretailindustryisofconsiderableimportance.SinceChina’sretailsectorbegantoreopentoforeigninvolvementin1992,ithaswitnessedaninfluxofmultinationalretailerseagertotakepartinits‘consumerrevolution’.By2005,the18largestforeign-investedchainstoresinChinaalreadyoperated4502outlets(ErnstandYoung2006).AccordingtothemanagementconsultingfirmKearney(2007),foreignretailersarefuellingtherapidgrowthofChina’sretailmarket.However,China’sretailmarketisbecomingsaturated,limitingexpansionopportunitiesforoverseasretailers.Competitionamongretailershasalsobecomeincreasinglyfierce(Wang2010).Howtodevelopandretaincompetitiveadvantageisessentialforthesuccessofbothforeignanddomesticretailers.InstitutionalconstraintsandemployeeparticipationInformalinstitution:thenormofrespectforhierarchyAccordingtoNorth(1990),institutionsincludeformalrules(laws,regulations)andinformalconstraints(customs,norms,cultures).Scott(1995)conceptualizedinstitutionsascomposedofthreepillars:regulative,cognitiveandnormative.Regulativeinstitutionsconsistofregulativerulesystemsandenforcementmechanismswhichcentreonrule-setting,monitoringandsanctioningactivities,withnationallaws,inspectionroutines,policeandcourts–alongwithorganizationalcounterpartssuchasworkplacerules,monitoringandincentives.Normativecomponentsintroducelegitimatemeanstopursuevaluedends.Accordingtothisinstitutionalapproach,thebasisofregularbehaviourstemsfrombroadsocialagreement,whichisoftenimplicit,onwhatbindingexpectationsapplytothemembersofthesociety.Cognitiveinstitutionscentreonsharedconceptionsofsocialrealityandframesformeaning,whicharetaken-for-grantedbeliefsandvaluesthatareimposedon,orinternalizedby,socialactors(DiMaggioandPowell1983).ThetraditionalChinesevalueofsocialorderandcustomsinthisaspectoverlapswithbothnormativeandcognitiveinstitutions.ThisisevidentintheteachingofConfucius,wherethesocialsystemisdefinednotintermsofindividualsororganizations,butintermsofdyadictiesbetweenindividuals,whatConfuciuscalledtheprinciplesofwu-lun(‘fivecardinalrelations’).Lunisasystemofsocialroleswithdistinctstatusdifferences,whichstressthedifferentiationbetweenindividuals:princeandsubject,fatherandson,husbandandwife,elderbrotherandyoungerbrotherandfriendandfriend.Foreachdyadicwu-lunrelationship,roleprescriptionsspecifywhatshouldandshouldnotbedonebytheactors(Baker1979).Alltheserelationshipsareintrinsicallyhierarchal,involvingsuperiorandsubordinateexceptforfriendtofriend.Moreover,eventhelatterrelationshipisstillQ.HuangandJ.Gamble3170Downloadedby[DeMontfortUniversity]at07:3423January2012constructedonahierarchicalbasis,withtheseniormemberhavingawiderangeofprerogativesandauthorityoverthejunior.Confucianvaluesthatemphasizetheimportanceofeducation,obediencetoauthorityandinterpersonalharmonyareconsideredtostillguideindividualactionsandattitudesinmodernChinesesocieties(HofstedeandBond1988),withvaluesandnorms‘bothinternalizedandimposedbyothers’(Scott1995,p.40).ThedefiningcharacteristicsofChinesetraditionalityaresaidtoberespectforauthority,fatalism,ageneralsenseofpowerlessandobedience(Chen,TsuiandZhong2008).Usingtheconceptoftraditionality,Farhetal.(1997)suggestthattraditionalTaiwaneseemployeeswerelesssensitivetoinjusticethanwerethelesstraditionalemployees.Therefore,thenormofrespectforauthorityisstillakeyaspectofaninformalinstitutioninChina,whichis‘apatternofcollectiveaction(socialpractice),justifiedbyacorrespondingnorm’(Czarniawska2010,p.423).Suchsocialinstitutions,whichcanactas‘internalizedcognitiveconstraintsonsense-making(taken-for-grantedness)’(WeberandGlynn2006,p.1640),then,havebeenbuiltintothesocialstructureoforganizations(Farhetal.1997).ThenationalinstitutionalembeddednessoffirmscanplayanimportantroleinshapingHRMpractices(Gooderhametal.1999).Relatively,littleattentionhasbeendevotedtotheextenttowhichsuchinformalinstitutionsmayconstraintheimplementationofHRMpractices.ThispaperattemptstofillthegapbyassessinghowthenormofrespectforauthoritymightimpactuponHRMinChina.Inparticular,wefocusonemployees’responsestoparticipativemanagementstyleinstate-ownedenterprises(SOEs)andforeign-investedenterprises(FIEs)intheretailsector,respectively,andassesswhetherthispracticeaffectsemployeesatisfaction.InstitutionalconstraintsandemployeeparticipationEmployeeparticipationhasbeenakeyresearchthemewithinthecontextofstrategicHRMsincethe1990s(Huselid,JacksonandSchuler1997;Parnell2002)andintheliteratureon‘highinvolvementworkpractices’,‘highcommitmentmanagement’,‘highperformancepractices’and‘bestpractice’HRM(e.g.Huselid1995;Pfeffer1998;BoxallandPurcell2003).AccordingtoHuselidetal.(1997,p.175),therearetwoHRMoutcomeswithinafirm,namelystrategicandtechnicalHRMoutcomes.Technicaloutcomesdescribe‘howwelltheHRMfunctionperformedactivitiestraditionallyassociatedwithpersonnelmanagement’,whereasstrategicoutcomesdescribe‘howwelltheHRMfunctiondevelopedafirm’semployeestosupportitsbusinessneeds’.Employeeparticipationtakesdifferentforms,forexample,directandindirectparticipation(Poole,LansburyandWailes2001;Bryson2004).Directemployeeparticipationmeansthatindividualemployeesareinvolvedincertaindecisions,whichhavetraditionallybeentakenbymanagementalone.Bycontrast,indirectparticipationreferstotheparticipationofemployeescollectivelyindecisionmakingthroughrelianceonunionornon-unionrepresentativestodealindirectlywithmanagementontheirbehalf(Pooleetal.2001).InWesternfirms,employeeshavebeenfoundtopreferparticipativemanagementstylestoautocraticstyles(Marchington2001),andsomeresearcherssuggestthatdirectparticipationcanbemoreeffectiveinelicitingmanagerialresponsivenessthanrepresentative(i.e.collectiveorunion)approaches(Bryson2004).Furthermore,directparticipationismorelikelytobeassociatedwithhigherlevelsofsatisfactionorcommitment(Cox,ZagelmeyerandMarchington2006).Chinesepeopleareoftenreportedtorespectauthorityandtoaccepthierarchicalstructure(Kirkbride,TangandWestwood1991).Asindicatedabove,theConfucianTheInternationalJournalofHumanResourceManagement3171Downloadedby[DeMontfortUniversity]at07:3423January2012valuesofobediencetoauthorityandinterpersonalharmonyarestillsaidtoguideindividualactionsandattitudesinmodernChinesesocieties(HofstedeandBond1988).ThecontemporaryrelevanceofConfucianideasinChinaisevidentinthewaythattheChinesepresident,HuJintao,stressedthevalueoforder,balanceanda‘harmonioussociety’(Economist2007,May19).Inastudycomparingworkers’participationinGermanyandTaiwan,HanandSiu(2000)arguethat‘Chineseculture’impedesemployeevoiceinTaiwanbecauseofahighdegreeofdistanceintermsofpowerrelations,subordinationanddocilityofthemanaged.StronghierarchicalandauthoritariantraditionswithinChinesesocietymeanthatmanagersarelikelytofeelthreatenedbyparticipatorystylesofmanagement,andemployeesmightnotwanttoinvolvethemselvesindecisionmakingforfearofhavingtheirviewsrejected(Hutchings2005).TheextentofparticipationbyemployeeshasbeenlowinmostChineseorganizations(HuoandVonGlinow1995).Inhisanalysisofasurveyof1200respondentsfrom120factoriesinfourcities,Tang(1993)foundthatamajorityofChineseworkerswouldratherleavedecisionmakingtothefirms’leadershipandgovernmentdepartments.Similarly,foreignmanagersinearlyjointventuresoftencomplainedthatChineseworkerswereunlikelytoexerciseinitiativetogetthingsdone(Holton1990).AccordingtoHuoandVonGlinow(1995),therehavebeenseveralattempts,championedbyChina’scentralgovernment,toincreaseworkers’participationinperformanceappraisal.However,theyarguethatsuchattemptshavenotbeensuccessful,because‘thesystemcontradictsChinesecultureandtradition’(HuoandVonGlinow1995,p.10).Morerecently,inanefforttoovercomeChineseemployees’reluctancetoquestionauthorityandencouragethemtospeakupwhenconfrontedwithabadidea,Kodaktestedteamsbysuggestingacontroversialideaandaskingtheteammembersforanopinion.Eventhoughtheteammembersknewitwasabadidea,nonewaspreparedtostatethisoutloud(Hulme2006).Ingeneral,thenormofrespectforauthorityhasbeenfoundtoconstrainmanagementpracticesandemployeeparticipationinparticular.However,theextenttowhichitcaninfluencestate-ownedandforeign-investedfirmsmaybedifferent.Weturntothispointinthefollowingsection.OwnershipandemployeeparticipationThereisevidencethat

Informal China's retail sector.pdf

Informal China's retail sector…

上传者: YAMA67
25次下载 0人收藏 暂无简介 简介 2012-05-11 举报

简介:HR 资料 The International Journal of Human Resource Management Informal institutional constraints and their impact on HRM and employee satisfaction: evidence from China's retail sector

Thisarticlewasdownloadedby:[DeMontfortUniversity]On:23January2012,At:07:34Publisher:RoutledgeInformaLtdRegisteredinEnglandandWalesRegisteredNumber:1072954Registeredoffice:MortimerHouse,37-41MortimerStreet,LondonW1T3JH,UKTheInternationalJournalofHumanResourceManagementPublicationdetails,includinginstructionsforauthorsandsubscriptioninformation:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rijh20InformalinstitutionalconstraintsandtheirimpactonHRMandemployeesatisfaction:evidencefromChina'sretailsectorQihaiHuanga&JosGamblebaLancasterUniversityManagementSchool,Lancaster,UKbSchoolofManagement,RoyalHolloway,UniversityofLondon,Surrey,UKAvailableonline:05Apr2011Tocitethisarticle:QihaiHuang&JosGamble(2011):InformalinstitutionalconstraintsandtheirimpactonHRMandemployeesatisfaction:evidencefromChina'sretailsector,TheInternationalJournalofHumanResourceManagement,22:15,3168-3186Tolinktothisarticle:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2011.560879PLEASESCROLLDOWNFORARTICLEFulltermsandconditionsofuse:http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsThisarticlemaybeusedforresearch,teaching,andprivatestudypurposes.Anysubstantialorsystematicreproduction,redistribution,reselling,loan,sub-licensing,systematicsupply,ordistributioninanyformtoanyoneisexpresslyforbidden.Thepublisherdoesnotgiveanywarrantyexpressorimpliedormakeanyrepresentationthatthecontentswillbecompleteoraccurateoruptodate.Theaccuracyofanyinstructions,formulae,anddrugdosesshouldbeindependentlyverifiedwithprimarysources.Thepublishershallnotbeliableforanyloss,actions,claims,proceedings,demand,orcostsordamageswhatsoeverorhowsoevercausedarisingdirectlyorindirectlyinconnectionwithorarisingoutoftheuseofthismaterial.InformalinstitutionalconstraintsandtheirimpactonHRMandemployeesatisfaction:evidencefromChina’sretailsectorQihaiHuanga*andJosGamblebaLancasterUniversityManagementSchool,Lancaster,UK;bSchoolofManagement,RoyalHolloway,UniversityofLondon,Surrey,UKThispaperseekstoassesswhetherinformalinstitutionscanaffecthumanresourcemanagementpractices.Specifically,weexaminewhetherthesocialnormofrespectforauthority,animportantinformalsocialinstitutionincountrieslikeChina,constrainsemployeeparticipation,andwhetherthisaffectsemployeesatisfactioninforeign-investedandstate-ownedretailersinChina,respectively.Dataarederivedfromquestionnairescompletedbyalmost1900employeesat22foreign-investedandstate-ownedretailstoresinnineChinesecities.Weindicatethatanormsuchasrespectforauthoritycanoperateasaconstraintonhumanresourcemanagementpracticessuchasemployeeparticipationwithrelatedimpactsuponsatisfactionlevelsinforeign-investedandstate-ownedretailers,butthattheseplayoutinunexpectedways.Keywords:China;HRM;institutions;participation;respectforauthority;retailIntroductionEffectivehumanresourcesmanagementcanbringcompetitiveadvantagestofirmsandisoftenconsideredasacriticaldeterminantoforganizationalperformanceandprofitability(e.g.Huselid1995;FeyandBjorkman2001;BjorkmanandFan2002;Lau,TseandZhou2002;Law,TseandZhou2003;Sun,AryeeandLaw2007).Meanwhile,itiswidelybelievedthatpowerfulinstitutions,whichincludebothformalorganizations–social,economicandpoliticalbodies–andthesocialnormsandrulesthattheseorganizationsarticulate(North1990;Scott1995),canconstrainthestyleofmanagement,suchastheformofhumanresourcesmanagement,asinstitutionalinertiamaydrivefirms’choicesofhumanresourcemanagement(HRM)practices(Buck,Filatotchev,DeminaandWright2003;Warner2008).Althoughresearchersincreasinglyexaminetheimportanceofinstitutionsinshapingbusinesspracticesintransitionaleconomies(e.g.ChildandTse2001;Lawetal.2003;Peng2003;MeyerandPeng2005),muchremainstobedone,especiallywithrespecttotheroleandimpactofinformalinstitutions.Muchresearchhasfocusedontheinfluenceofformalinstitutionsonmanagement,suchaslegislation,ownershipandregionaldevelopment(e.g.Tang1993;Child1994;Warner1996;Lauetal.2002;Lawetal.2003;MeyerandPeng2005;Bjorkman,FeyandPark2007).Whileformalinstitutionalchangeshavebeenimplemented,though,informalinstitutionsmaylagbehind.North(1990)arguesthatinformalconstraintscomefromtheculturaltransmissionofvalues,underpinnedbyideologicalreinforcements.DevelopingISSN0958-5192print/ISSN1466-4399onlineq2011Taylor&Francishttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2011.560879http://www.tandfonline.com*Correspondingauthor.Email:qihai.huang@lancaster.ac.ukTheInternationalJournalofHumanResourceManagement,Vol.22,No.15,September2011,3168–3186Downloadedby[DeMontfortUniversity]at07:3423January2012normsofbehaviourthatwillsupportandlegitimizenewformalrulesisalengthy,incrementalprocess(North1994).Theinertiaofinformalinstitutionalstructuresislikelytoinhibittheapplicationofnewmanagementprescriptions(Gooderham,NordhaugandRingdal1999;ChildandTse2001).Sofar,muchlessattentionhasbeenpaidtotheroleofinformalinstitutions,whichmayconstrainmanagementpracticesandaccordinglyfirmperformance.OurstudyaimstofillsuchagapbyassessingtheconstraintsofinformalinstitutionswithspecificreferencetothenormofrespectforauthorityonemployeeparticipationandsatisfactioninretailersinChina.EmployeeparticipationisreportedtobeakeyelementofhighperformanceHRMsystems(e.g.Huselid1995;Pfeffer1998;BoxallandPurcell2003).IntheChinesecontext,respectforhierarchyhasbeenbuiltintothesocialstructureoforganizations(Farh,EarleyandLin1997),whichstillguideindividualactionsandattitudesinmodernChinesesocieties(HofstedeandBond1988).Suchanormmayconstrainoratleastaffectthestylesofcommunicationacrossorganizationalhierarchiesandemployeeparticipation,whichinturnmayhaveanimpactonemployeesatisfaction.Inexploringthisdimension,thecurrentpaperalsotestsassumptionsabouttheimpactandefficacyofparticipativemanagementstylesinanon-Westerncontext.Thecontributionofthispaperistwofold.First,itconstitutesanearlyattempttoassesstheimpactofinformalinstitutionsonhumanresourcesmanagement,whichispoorlyunderstoodinbothChinaandothertransitionaleconomies.Transitionaleconomiesarenotonlyanideallaboratorytoassesstheimpactofformalinstitutionalchanges,butalsoofinformalinstitutionsonmanagementandperformance.AsPeng(2000)postulates,forinstance,China’ssocialinstitutionsremaincentraltounderstandinghowfirmsoperateandperforminthiscountry.Second,itusesauniquelargesurveydatabasecollectedintheretailsectorinChina.Researchexaminingtheinfluenceofinstitutionsintransitionaleconomiestendstofocusonthemanufacturingsector(e.g.Lauetal.2002;Lawetal.2003),withdataoftendrawnsolelyfromthesurveysofmanagers(e.g.Lawetal.2003;Bjorkmanetal.2007).InChina,ChildandTse(2001)claimthattheentryofforeignventuresintheretailsectorhasengenderedfundamentalandfar-reachingchanges.However,withfewexceptions(e.g.Gamble2003,2006)thereislittleempiricalresearchthatexamineswhetherforeignretailershaveadopteddifferentHRMpracticescomparedwithindigenousfirmsandnonethatfocusesonemployeeparticipation.Ourdataincludebothmanagersandshop-flooremployeesinindigenousandforeign-investedretailers.Inthefollowingsections,wefirstoutlinetheresearchcontext,followedbyareviewoftheliteratureoninstitutions,andthepotentialimpactsofthenormofrespectforauthorityonemployeeparticipationandemployeesatisfactionwiththesepractices.Wethenproposeanumberofhypothesesandtestthemusingsurveydata,followedbyadiscussionofthefindings.Wedrawouttheimplicationsforbothmanagementandtheorybeforeabriefdiscussiononfutureresearchandaconclusion.ResearchcontextSinceChina’s‘opendoor’andreformpolicybeganinthelate1970s,substantialinstitutionalchangeshavedismantledmanybarrierstomodernbusinessoperations(Child1994;Warner1996;ChildandTse2001;Warner2008).Forexample,theintroductionoflabourcontractsinthelate1980sandthe‘threesystems’reformsintroducedintheearly1990sgavefirmsgreaterautonomytohire,promoteandevenfireworkers(Warner1996).Toaconsiderableextent,alabourmarkethasbeenestablishedthroughformalinstitutionalchanges.Sincetransitionisapath-dependenttransformationTheInternationalJournalofHumanResourceManagement3169Downloadedby[DeMontfortUniversity]at07:3423January2012(ChildandTse2001),itislikelythatbothformalandinformalinstitutionscaninhibitfirmsfromadoptinginstitutionalsolutionswhichconventionaleconomictheorywouldregardasoptimal.Infact,informalinstitutionsmaylagbehind.AsNorth(1994)pointsout,developingnormsofbehaviourthatwillsupportandlegitimizenewformalrulesisalengthy,incrementalprocess.Theretailsectorisofgreateconomicandsocialsignificancenotonlyinthedevelopedworldbutalsointhedevelopingcountries.InthecaseofChina,theoverwhelmingfocusonitsroleasaglobalmanufacturingbaseneglectstheimportanceoftheservicesectorinthatcountry.AccordingtothePeople’sDaily(2004),theproportionofChina’sGDPaccountedforbytheservicesectorincreasedfrom21.4%in1978to33.7%in2002.Inthesameperiod,thenumberofpeopleemployedinthissectorrosefromjust48.9milliontoover210million.ItisestimatedthatthecontributionofthissectortoChina’sGDPwillbe50–60%in2020.Asamajorcomponentoftheservicesector,theretailindustryisofconsiderableimportance.SinceChina’sretailsectorbegantoreopentoforeigninvolvementin1992,ithaswitnessedaninfluxofmultinationalretailerseagertotakepartinits‘consumerrevolution’.By2005,the18largestforeign-investedchainstoresinChinaalreadyoperated4502outlets(ErnstandYoung2006).AccordingtothemanagementconsultingfirmKearney(2007),foreignretailersarefuellingtherapidgrowthofChina’sretailmarket.However,China’sretailmarketisbecomingsaturated,limitingexpansionopportunitiesforoverseasretailers.Competitionamongretailershasalsobecomeincreasinglyfierce(Wang2010).Howtodevelopandretaincompetitiveadvantageisessentialforthesuccessofbothforeignanddomesticretailers.InstitutionalconstraintsandemployeeparticipationInformalinstitution:thenormofrespectforhierarchyAccordingtoNorth(1990),institutionsincludeformalrules(laws,regulations)andinformalconstraints(customs,norms,cultures).Scott(1995)conceptualizedinstitutionsascomposedofthreepillars:regulative,cognitiveandnormative.Regulativeinstitutionsconsistofregulativerulesystemsandenforcementmechanismswhichcentreonrule-setting,monitoringandsanctioningactivities,withnationallaws,inspectionroutines,policeandcourts–alongwithorganizationalcounterpartssuchasworkplacerules,monitoringandincentives.Normativecomponentsintroducelegitimatemeanstopursuevaluedends.Accordingtothisinstitutionalapproach,thebasisofregularbehaviourstemsfrombroadsocialagreement,whichisoftenimplicit,onwhatbindingexpectationsapplytothemembersofthesociety.Cognitiveinstitutionscentreonsharedconceptionsofsocialrealityandframesformeaning,whicharetaken-for-grantedbeliefsandvaluesthatareimposedon,orinternalizedby,socialactors(DiMaggioandPowell1983).ThetraditionalChinesevalueofsocialorderandcustomsinthisaspectoverlapswithbothnormativeandcognitiveinstitutions.ThisisevidentintheteachingofConfucius,wherethesocialsystemisdefinednotintermsofindividualsororganizations,butintermsofdyadictiesbetweenindividuals,whatConfuciuscalledtheprinciplesofwu-lun(‘fivecardinalrelations’).Lunisasystemofsocialroleswithdistinctstatusdifferences,whichstressthedifferentiationbetweenindividuals:princeandsubject,fatherandson,husbandandwife,elderbrotherandyoungerbrotherandfriendandfriend.Foreachdyadicwu-lunrelationship,roleprescriptionsspecifywhatshouldandshouldnotbedonebytheactors(Baker1979).Alltheserelationshipsareintrinsicallyhierarchal,involvingsuperiorandsubordinateexceptforfriendtofriend.Moreover,eventhelatterrelationshipisstillQ.HuangandJ.Gamble3170Downloadedby[DeMontfortUniversity]at07:3423January2012constructedonahierarchicalbasis,withtheseniormemberhavingawiderangeofprerogativesandauthorityoverthejunior.Confucianvaluesthatemphasizetheimportanceofeducation,obediencetoauthorityandinterpersonalharmonyareconsideredtostillguideindividualactionsandattitudesinmodernChinesesocieties(HofstedeandBond1988),withvaluesandnorms‘bothinternalizedandimposedbyothers’(Scott1995,p.40).ThedefiningcharacteristicsofChinesetraditionalityaresaidtoberespectforauthority,fatalism,ageneralsenseofpowerlessandobedience(Chen,TsuiandZhong2008).Usingtheconceptoftraditionality,Farhetal.(1997)suggestthattraditionalTaiwaneseemployeeswerelesssensitivetoinjusticethanwerethelesstraditionalemployees.Therefore,thenormofrespectforauthorityisstillakeyaspectofaninformalinstitutioninChina,whichis‘apatternofcollectiveaction(socialpractice),justifiedbyacorrespondingnorm’(Czarniawska2010,p.423).Suchsocialinstitutions,whichcanactas‘internalizedcognitiveconstraintsonsense-making(taken-for-grantedness)’(WeberandGlynn2006,p.1640),then,havebeenbuiltintothesocialstructureoforganizations(Farhetal.1997).ThenationalinstitutionalembeddednessoffirmscanplayanimportantroleinshapingHRMpractices(Gooderhametal.1999).Relatively,littleattentionhasbeendevotedtotheextenttowhichsuchinformalinstitutionsmayconstraintheimplementationofHRMpractices.ThispaperattemptstofillthegapbyassessinghowthenormofrespectforauthoritymightimpactuponHRMinChina.Inparticular,wefocusonemployees’responsestoparticipativemanagementstyleinstate-ownedenterprises(SOEs)andforeign-investedenterprises(FIEs)intheretailsector,respectively,andassesswhetherthispracticeaffectsemployeesatisfaction.InstitutionalconstraintsandemployeeparticipationEmployeeparticipationhasbeenakeyresearchthemewithinthecontextofstrategicHRMsincethe1990s(Huselid,JacksonandSchuler1997;Parnell2002)andintheliteratureon‘highinvolvementworkpractices’,‘highcommitmentmanagement’,‘highperformancepractices’and‘bestpractice’HRM(e.g.Huselid1995;Pfeffer1998;BoxallandPurcell2003).AccordingtoHuselidetal.(1997,p.175),therearetwoHRMoutcomeswithinafirm,namelystrategicandtechnicalHRMoutcomes.Technicaloutcomesdescribe‘howwelltheHRMfunctionperformedactivitiestraditionallyassociatedwithpersonnelmanagement’,whereasstrategicoutcomesdescribe‘howwelltheHRMfunctiondevelopedafirm’semployeestosupportitsbusinessneeds’.Employeeparticipationtakesdifferentforms,forexample,directandindirectparticipation(Poole,LansburyandWailes2001;Bryson2004).Directemployeeparticipationmeansthatindividualemployeesareinvolvedincertaindecisions,whichhavetraditionallybeentakenbymanagementalone.Bycontrast,indirectparticipationreferstotheparticipationofemployeescollectivelyindecisionmakingthroughrelianceonunionornon-unionrepresentativestodealindirectlywithmanagementontheirbehalf(Pooleetal.2001).InWesternfirms,employeeshavebeenfoundtopreferparticipativemanagementstylestoautocraticstyles(Marchington2001),andsomeresearcherssuggestthatdirectparticipationcanbemoreeffectiveinelicitingmanagerialresponsivenessthanrepresentative(i.e.collectiveorunion)approaches(Bryson2004).Furthermore,directparticipationismorelikelytobeassociatedwithhigherlevelsofsatisfactionorcommitment(Cox,ZagelmeyerandMarchington2006).Chinesepeopleareoftenreportedtorespectauthorityandtoaccepthierarchicalstructure(Kirkbride,TangandWestwood1991).Asindicatedabove,theConfucianTheInternationalJournalofHumanResourceManagement3171Downloadedby[DeMontfortUniversity]at07:3423January2012valuesofobediencetoauthorityandinterpersonalharmonyarestillsaidtoguideindividualactionsandattitudesinmodernChinesesocieties(HofstedeandBond1988).ThecontemporaryrelevanceofConfucianideasinChinaisevidentinthewaythattheChinesepresident,HuJintao,stressedthevalueoforder,balanceanda‘harmonioussociety’(Economist2007,May19).Inastudycomparingworkers’participationinGermanyandTaiwan,HanandSiu(2000)arguethat‘Chineseculture’impedesemployeevoiceinTaiwanbecauseofahighdegreeofdistanceintermsofpowerrelations,subordinationanddocilityofthemanaged.StronghierarchicalandauthoritariantraditionswithinChinesesocietymeanthatmanagersarelikelytofeelthreatenedbyparticipatorystylesofmanagement,andemployeesmightnotwanttoinvolvethemselvesindecisionmakingforfearofhavingtheirviewsrejected(Hutchings2005).TheextentofparticipationbyemployeeshasbeenlowinmostChineseorganizations(HuoandVonGlinow1995).Inhisanalysisofasurveyof1200respondentsfrom120factoriesinfourcities,Tang(1993)foundthatamajorityofChineseworkerswouldratherleavedecisionmakingtothefirms’leadershipandgovernmentdepartments.Similarly,foreignmanagersinearlyjointventuresoftencomplainedthatChineseworkerswereunlikelytoexerciseinitiativetogetthingsdone(Holton1990).AccordingtoHuoandVonGlinow(1995),therehavebeenseveralattempts,championedbyChina’scentralgovernment,toincreaseworkers’participationinperformanceappraisal.However,theyarguethatsuchattemptshavenotbeensuccessful,because‘thesystemcontradictsChinesecultureandtradition’(HuoandVonGlinow1995,p.10).Morerecently,inanefforttoovercomeChineseemployees’reluctancetoquestionauthorityandencouragethemtospeakupwhenconfrontedwithabadidea,Kodaktestedteamsbysuggestingacontroversialideaandaskingtheteammembersforanopinion.Eventhoughtheteammembersknewitwasabadidea,nonewaspreparedtostatethisoutloud(Hulme2006).Ingeneral,thenormofrespectforauthorityhasbeenfoundtoconstrainmanagementpracticesandemployeeparticipationinparticular.However,theextenttowhichitcaninfluencestate-ownedandforeign-investedfirmsmaybedifferent.Weturntothispointinthefollowingsection.OwnershipandemployeeparticipationThereisevidencethat
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