Martinsons, Maris G.; Hempel, Paul S.
August 2001
Academy of Management Proceedings & Membership Directory;2001, pE1
Conference Proceeding
Conference Paper
Process-based organizational change has attracted considerable attention in recent decades, with the rise of total quality management (TQM) being followed by the emergence of business process reengineering (BPR). Since contextual factors can influence both the adoption and results of these process-based change initiatives, their international popularity has created an imperative to move beyond a culture-bounded perspective. The stark philosophical, economic and historical differences between Americans and the Chinese make the comparison of process-based organizational change in these two societal contexts an important step in the development of a global model. This paper begins by outlining the evolution of process-based organizational change and proposing that BPR be seen as TQM with American characteristics. A selective review of Chinese culture and management systems then highlights five factors that are likely to influence Chinese organizational change. Evidence from field studies and insights from key informants reveals that organizations across Greater China have adopted a distinctive approach to re-engineering. The existence of this BPR with Chinese characteristics prompts a more general examination of how the nature of organizational change may be affected by specific cultural dimensions of the implementation context. By elaborating on an existing typology of change, we provide a foundation for the development of cross-cultural theory and a general model of process-based organizational change.


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