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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A synthetic and geocentric model of organizational management applied to curriculum planning for management education in the PRC : the case of MOFERT Bu, Nailin


This study is an attempt to outline an overall curriculum plan for the management education programs of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which would be adapted to the needs of the country while drawing on knowledge and resources from the West. This study also searches for an analytical tool to facilitate cross-national comparisons in areas of management. A need-based curriculum planning process is followed, which focuses on the discrepancies between the actual and required managerial capabilities in the PRC. A framework conceptualizing the nature of management is proposed to provide an overall structure for examining the needs for management training. It is suggested in this framework that national characteristics affect organizational environments, which in turn influence the nature of organizational management. It is further suggested that organizational environments in various national contexts be examined from two perspectives: (a) internal vs. external, and (b) technical vs. institutional. Effective management involves forming and implementing strategies and tactics which would balance all aspects of organizational environments within a particular context. Based on the framework, the management of PRC’s enterprises involves reconciling economic with ideological and social criteria, as well as reconciling the interests of the state and the community, and of the organizational members. This perspective on management in the PRC is partially tested through a questionnaire survey administered to a sample of PRC managers from the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade (MOFERT). The survey results support the notion that, to succeed in the PRC, it is important not only to manage the technical but also the institutional aspects of organizational environments. The questionnaire also surveyed MOFERT managers’ self- reported managerial capabilities to uncover the overall and the differentiated needs for training among managers from various backgrounds. As predicted, MOFERT managers recognize their skill deficiency in all aspects of management identified. This echoes the widespread recognition of the urgent need for upgrading managerial skills in the PRC. The survey results indicate the extent to which managers’ different backgrounds contribute to their capabilities of dealing with various aspects of management. MOFERT managers having tertiary education, contrary to the prediction, do not report more confidence in fulfilling managerial tasks which are supposedly highly related to their specific disciplines of technical and professional training. On the other hand, managers’ work experience, connections with government agencies, and/or sympathy with the official ideology are shown to contribute, in general, to better capabilities in aspects of management requiring more behavioral and political as opposed to technical skills. However, those same managers report no more confidence than other managers in dealing with aspects of management which, though still calling for political skills, are dramatically affected by the current economic reforms in the PRC. Based on conceptual and empirical analyses, curriculum plans are recommended for the various levels of business administration programs of the PRC. The extent of transferability of existing Western teaching materials in various subject areas are also discussed. While this study focuses primarily on the content issue of management education in the PRC, the proposed framework has much broader implications in both topical and geographical terms. It synthesizes various contemporary advancements in organizational research, enabling a holistic view of organizational management. It is also geocentric in orientation, enabling genuine cross-cultural comparisons and contrasts. Hopefully, the framework provides a general model for systematic analyses of cross-national similarities and differences in organizational management.

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