Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 115–137

The Manager as Mediator of Alternative Meanings: A pilot Study from China, The USA and U.K.

  • Peter B. Smith
  • Mark F. Peterson
  • Zhong Ming Wang

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8490128

Cite this article as:
Smith, P., Peterson, M. & Wang, Z. J Int Bus Stud (1996) 27: 115. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8490128


Managers in China, the USA and Britain were asked to describe the extent to which they used five sources for handling nine managerial events. Western managers were found to rely more upon their own experience and training, while in China, rules and procedures were more salient. For most events, Western managers who described themselves as relying on their own experience and training believed that the events had been well handled. They reported that events were less well handled to the extent that they referred to their superiors. Reliance on the superior was associated with role ambiguity among Western managers but not in China. Even though Chinese managers relied more upon rules and procedures they too evaluated events more positively when they had relied on their own experience and training. The results are discussed in terms of Chinese and Western cultural values and the prospects for change in managerial practice in China.

Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter B. Smith
    • 1
  • Mark F. Peterson
    • 2
  • Zhong Ming Wang
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Sussex
  2. 2.Texas Tech University
  3. 3.Hangzhou University