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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Managing records as evidence and information in China in the context of cloud-based services Pan, Weimei


Placed against the backdrop of the increasing use of cloud-based services, this study aims to explore the management of electronic records as evidence and information in Chinese enterprises to support them in fulfilling regulatory and legal requirements as well as satisfying business needs. A qualitative case study method was adopted to achieve the research purpose. Two Chinese enterprises—one Sino-foreign joint venture and one state-owned enterprise—were studied through interviews and document analysis. The findings show that, in the two Chinese enterprises studied, the impact of cloud-based service on records management practice is very limited. As to the management of electronic records as evidence, due to various reasons, these two enterprises are prompted to either employ a trusted third party or convert them to paper format for preserving and demonstrating their evidentiary capacity. Despite many benefits offered by these two methods, the examination of their application in the two enterprises identifies some issues, for instance, the lack of procedures to verify that the authenticity of the data in the cloud is not compromised, the lack of archival methods for the management of the data deposited with the trusted third party, and the way the paper versions of the records is managed does not account for their “digital” past, all of which may affect the ability of the records in question to adequately fulfill their intended purpose. As it regards the management of records as information, both cases provided positive evidence of increasing efforts to exploit the informational content of records for daily operation and strategic planning. Moreover, for the state-owned enterprise, its records management work is largely, if not exclusively, focused on the informational value of records. This study suggests that there is some incoherence in the records management systems within the two enterprises, which is manifested in two aspects: the design of different records management programs to manage the evidentiary capacity and the informational value of records, and the absence of clear principles informing the management of records.

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