University of Tasmania
Whole_Zhu_thesis_ex_pub_mat.pdf (23.65 MB)

The emerging role of human resource management in industrial enterprises in China : past, current and future HR practices

Download (23.65 MB)
posted on 2023-05-27, 14:41 authored by Zhu, CJ
In the late 1970s, the Chinese government announced an open-door policy and began economic reforms aimed at moving the country from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. This ongoing transition has resulted in significant changes in management practices in China's industrial sector and has profound implications for its human resource (HR) practices. Based on a review of the current literature, this thesis examines the rise of a highly centralised command economy and dominance of public ownership during Mao's regime and changes that occurred in both the economic system and ownership structure since economic reform. It also discusses the impact of different economic systems and ownership forms on management and HR practices in China's industrial enterprises. There is a dearth of research that systematically examines current HR practices in Chinese industrial enterprises, especially across enterprises with different types of ownership. Given this, the thesis identifies three research questions: 1) How were human resources in Chinese industrial enterprise managed before and after the commencement of economic reform with respect to major HR activities, including: human resource planning; recruitment and selection; performance appraisal; compensation and welfare; training and development; and labour relations? 2) What impact does form of ownership have on HR practices in Chinese industrial enterprises? 3) What are the possible future development paths of human resource management (HRM) in Chinese industrial enterprises? The three research questions were investigated and addressed through four major case studies conducted in four enterprises with different ownership forms in China and survey questionnaires with 440 respondents. Each case study and survey result was discussed and analysed separately. This was followed by a comparative analysis between the qualitative (case studies) and quantitative (survey) studies. The thesis thus achieved its primary purpose, namely, to explore the emerging role of HRM in China's industrial enterprises with different types of ownership. It enhances the understanding of HRM in the Chinese industrial sector by offering empirical evidence of past and current practices across the major HR activities, and pointing to future HR trends within the sector. It also contributes to the theory of HRM by exploring HR practices across enterprises with four types of ownership to investigate the impact of ownership form on HRM. In addition, the study proposes a model of HRM that indicates possible future development paths for HRM in Chinese industrial enterprises and discusses future HRM challenges, emphasising the significance of training the workforce in China for such challenges. Research limitations and recommendations for future research are identified and presented.


Publication status

  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Copyright 2000 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D)--University of Tasmania, 2000. Includes bibliographical references

Repository Status

  • Open

Usage metrics

    Thesis collection


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager