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The Revival of Management Education in Reform-Era China

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Abstract

This chapter analyzes the revival of management education in mainland China as a key aspect of the Reform Era. Reacting against the ideological excesses of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese officials and academics first worked to restore “science” to the study and practice of management by re-training tens of thousands of mid-level managers across the CCP and state-owned enterprises. These efforts relied on transnational circulations of knowledge back and forth with the major capitalist economies of Europe and North America, which in turn required careful ideological re-calibrations and justifications. By the early 1990s, these processes evolved into leading universities such as Tsinghua and Fudan establishing American-style MBA programs in partnership with MIT Sloan. Through high-level academic exchanges largely funded by Hong Kong MIT alumni, this partnership transplanted whole courses, textbooks, and methodologies into Chinese management education and further accelerated China’s export-driven integration with global capitalism.

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Fig. 5.1
Fig. 5.2

Notes

  1. 1.

    For the 2006 figure, see Paula Cronin, “Making a Difference, 1996–2006” (Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan School of Management, 2006), 11. For the 2015 figure, see Gabriel Wildau, “Wang Chungqi, China’s First MBA Graduate,” Financial Times, 25 January 2015.

  2. 2.

    For one overview of the social sciences during the 1980s, see Nina Halpern, “Social Scientists as Policy Advisers in Post-Mao China: Explaining the Pattern of Advice,” The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs 19/20 (January–July 1988): 215–240. For a recent foregrounding of economic exchanges in China’s reforms, see Julian Gewirtz, Unlikely Partners: Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the Making of Global China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017).

  3. 3.

    See, for example, Andrew G. Walder, “Factory and Manager in an Era of Reform,” China Quarterly 118 (June 1989): 242–264. A more recent overview of this literature is Anne S. Tsui and Chung-Ming Lau, eds., The Management of Enterprises in the People’s Republic of China (Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002).

  4. 4.

    Barry Naughton, “China’s Economic Think Tanks: Their Changing Role in the 1990s,” China Quarterly 171 (September 2002): 625–635. For a new work in this conversation, see Isabella M. Weber, How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate (New York: Routledge, 2021).

  5. 5.

    Walder, “Factory and Manager in an Era of Reform,” 249.

  6. 6.

    Kathleen and Robert Thurston-Lighty, The Stars Aligned: Celebrating the 20-Year Anniversary of the MIT-China Management Education Project (水到渠成) (Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan, 2016), 21–22.

  7. 7.

    Author’s interview with Joseph Battat, 19 November 2020.

  8. 8.

    “用電腦監測織布機, 上海試用半年成功, 使科學管理有更可靠依據” [“Yong diannao jiance zhibuji, Shanghai shiyong bannian chenggong, shi kexue guanli you geng kekao yiju”] [“Using Computers to Monitor Looms, a Six-Month Shanghai Experiment Has Success and Creates a More Reliable Basis for Scientific Management”], Ta Kung Pao (TKP, 大公報) (31 May 1980): 2.

  9. 9.

    Cronin, “Making a Difference,” 54.

  10. 10.

    Haochen Li, Robert Matas, and Yves Tiberghien, UBC-China: One Hundred Years of History, 1915–2015 (Vancouver, Canada: UBC China Council, 2016), 18, https://chinacouncil.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2017/01/ChinaCouncil_3Ed_ENG_web.pdf, accessed 3 March 2021.

  11. 11.

    Douglas T. Kenny, The President’s Report 1979–80, The University of British Columbia (1980), 12, https://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/pdfs/presidents/1980.pdf, accessed 3 March 2021.

  12. 12.

    Li, Matas, and Tiberghien, UBC-China, 19–20.

  13. 13.

    Malcom Warner, “The ‘Long March’ of Chinese Management Education, 1979–84,” China Quarterly 106 (June 1986): 328.

  14. 14.

    Manoranjan Mohanty, “Social Sciences on a New Footing,” Economic and Political Weekly 14:34 (August 1979): 1458–1459. See also Naughton, “China’s Economic Think Tanks,” 626–627.

  15. 15.

    Zhu Rongji, “Speech at the First Plenary Session of the Ninth Shanghai People’s Congress,” 25 April 1988, Zhu Rongji on the Record: The Shanghai Years, 1987–1991, trans. June Y. Mei (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2018), 95–96.

  16. 16.

    Halpern, “Social Scientists as Policy Advisers in Post-Mao China,” 236.

  17. 17.

    Warner, “The ‘Long March’ of Chinese Management Education,” 333–334.

  18. 18.

    Ibid., 336–337.

  19. 19.

    Ibid., 332–333.

  20. 20.

    Dartmouth Class of 1926, “Pan, Francis Kuang-Chiung, 1926,” 1926 Smoke Signals (September 1984), The Rauner Special Collections, Rauner Library, Dartmouth University, Hanover, NH.

  21. 21.

    Warner, “The ‘Long March’ of Chinese Management Education, 1979–1984,” 326.

  22. 22.

    The Chinese Association of Industrial Enterprise Management Education (CAIEME, 中国工业企业管理教育研究会), Industrial Enterprise Management (工业企业管理) [Gongye qiye guanli] (Beijing: Zhongguo Caizheng Jingji Chubanshe, 1981), Compiler’s Preface (编写说明). Yifu Hall, Main Library, Tsinghua University.

  23. 23.

    Warner, “The ‘Long March’ of Chinese Management Education,” 338.

  24. 24.

    “企业管理是一门科学” and “必要条件.” CAIEME, 工业企业管理, 1, 3, 11.

  25. 25.

    “一个单独的提琴手是自己指挥自己, 一个乐队就需要一个乐队指挥” and “都必然会产生监督劳动和指挥劳动.” CAIEME, 工业企业管理, 2, 5.

  26. 26.

    “‘任何大机器工业—却社会主义的物质的, 生产的泉源和基础—都要求无条件的和最严格的统一意志, 以指导几百人, 几千人以至几万人的共同工作.’” Ibid., 2.

  27. 27.

    Deborah A. Kaple, Dream of a Red Factory: The Legacy of High Stalinism in China (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 61.

  28. 28.

    CAIEME, 工业企业管理, 7–8, 11–12.

  29. 29.

    Ibid., 3–4, 7–8.

  30. 30.

    “加强管理, 就是为了维护和完善社会主义生产关系, 把国家, 企业和职工三者利益结合起来, 发扬职工的积极性和主动性, 促进工业生产的迅速发展.” Ibid., 4.

  31. 31.

    “过去, 由于极左思潮泛滥, 在企业管理上, 只讲社会属性, 不讲自然属性, 放松对生产力的研究, 对资本主义企业在这方面积累的有用经验, 则一概拒绝。这种只讲个性, 不讲共性, 极端片面的观点, 给我国管理科学的发展造成了严重的危害.” CAIEME, 工业企业管理, 8–9.

  32. 32.

    “按客观规律办事与贯彻执行党和国家的路线, 方针, 政策等并不矛盾。因为在正常条件下, 党和国家的路线, 方针和政策是建立在正确认识客观规律基础上的, 反映客观规律的要求, 所以能对企业管理起指导作用.” CAIEME, 工业企业管理, 13.

  33. 33.

    “思想政治工作的重要内容就是教育企业职工认识客观规律, 按客观规律的要求办事, 在一定的物质技术条件下, 充分发挥主观能动性, 争取最大的经济效果.” Ibid., 13.

  34. 34.

    Ibid., 19–20.

  35. 35.

    “计划是企业管理的首要职能.” CAIEME, 工业企业管理, 9.

  36. 36.

    “社会主义企业的集中指挥是建立在发扬民主的基础上的… 集中指挥还要同加强思想政治教育相结合, 不断启发和提高广大职工的社会主义觉悟.” Ibid., 10.

  37. 37.

    “有资本阶级的阶级偏见.” Ibid., 23.

  38. 38.

    “他主张一切管理问题都应当而且可能用科学的方法去加以研究和解决.” Ibid., 18–19.

  39. 39.

    “学习它的合乎科学的, 适合我国需要的东西, 把它由资本主义的工具变成社会主义的工具, 以提高我国企业管理水平, 加速社会主义现代化建设.” CAIEME, 工业企业管理, 23.

  40. 40.

    “这些基本上符合客观规律要求的管理制度和方法” and “使我国企业管理开始走上科学管理的轨道.” Ibid., 25.

  41. 41.

    “全国掀起了群众运动的新高潮,” “对客观规律尊重不够,” and “第一个五年计划期间建立起来的科学管理制度和办法.” CAIEME, 工业企业管理, 26.

  42. 42.

    “重新走上科学管理的轨道” and “以致过去行之有效的科学管理制度和办法全部破坏了.” Ibid., 27.

  43. 43.

    “企业管理是现代化大生产的客观要求” and “否定企业管理, 就是否定现代化大生产本身, 就会损害社会主义生产关系, 阻碍社会生产力的发展.” Ibid., 28.

  44. 44.

    “四个现代化要求企业管理的科学化和现代化.” Ibid., 28.

  45. 45.

    Warner, “The ‘Long March’ of Chinese Management Education,” 329–330.

  46. 46.

    “滬青年求知動向科學管理最熱門]” [“Hu qingnian qiuzhi dongxiang kexue guanli zui remen”] [“Among Shanghai Youths Seeking Knowledge, the Scientific Management Trend Is the Hottest”], Ta Kung Pao (TKP, 大公報) (7 January 1985): 3.

  47. 47.

    Steven R. Weisman, “Pacts with China Signed as Reagan Ends Peking Visit,” New York Times (30 April 1984): 1.

  48. 48.

    “President Reagan’s Remarks to Chinese Community Leaders in Beijing, China, 1984,” 27 April 1984, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Ronald Reagan, 1984, Book 1 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1986), 584.

  49. 49.

    Author’s interview with David Pan, 6 March 2019.

  50. 50.

    Zhu Rongji, “Speech at the First Plenary Session of the Ninth Shanghai People’s Congress,” 25 April 1988, in Zhu Rongji on the Record, 144–145.

  51. 51.

    Zhu Rongji, “Foreign Trade: The Vanguard for Shanghai’s Development of an Externally Oriented Economy,” 4 May 1988, in Zhu Rongji on the Record, 171.

  52. 52.

    See, for example, Zhu Rongji, “The Shanghai Municipal Government Must Be Prepared to Fight Hard for Revitalization,” 10 May 1988, and “A Few Comments on the Devolution of Powers,” 3 June 1988, both in Zhu Rongji on the Record, 173–180, 203–208.

  53. 53.

    Ch. Zhao, L. Winkelbauer, and K. Fedra, “Advanced Decision-Oriented Software for the Management of Hazardous Substances” (Laxenburg, Austria: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, CP-85–50, December 1985); and Kurt Fedra, Zhenxi Li, Zhongtuo Wang, and Chunjun Zhao, “Expert Systems for Integrated Development: A Case Study of Shanxi Province, The People’s Republic of China” (Laxenburg, Austria: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, SR-87–1, September 1987).

  54. 54.

    Zhao Chunjun, Yang Xin, and Wang Yongxian, eds., Optimization and Decision-making (优化与决策) [Youhua yu juece] (Beijing: Zhongguo Kexue Jishu Chubanshe, 1988). Yifu Hall, Main Library, Tsinghua University.

  55. 55.

    “Zhao Chunjun: A Visionary Educator Turning Seeds into Forests,” Fudan University Lifetime Achievement Award, December 2019, https://www.fudan.edu.cn/en/2019/1102/c1092a102667/page.htm, accessed 3 March 2021.

  56. 56.

    Warner, “The ‘Long March’ of Chinese Management Education,” 335–336.

  57. 57.

    Thurston-Lighty, The Stars Aligned, 61.

  58. 58.

    Ibid., 31.

  59. 59.

    Cronin, “Making a Difference,” 54–55.

  60. 60.

    Thurston-Lighty, The Stars Aligned, 23.

  61. 61.

    江澤民會見美國客人, 重申堅持改革開放, 學習外國科學管理, 陳香梅應邀短期內訪問北京,” [“Jiang Zemin huijian Meiguo keren, chongshen jianchi gaige kaifang, xuexi waiguo kexue guanli, Chen Xiangmei yingyao duanqi nei fangwen Beijing”] [“Jiang Zemin Met with American Guests and Reiterated His Adherence to Reform and Opening Up and Learning Foreign Scientific Management. Chen Xiangmei [Anna Chennault] Was Invited to Visit Beijing Soon”], Wah Kiu Yat Po (華僑日報), 28 July 1989, 2.

  62. 62.

    Cronin, “Making a Difference,” 42.

  63. 63.

    Cronin, “Making a Difference,” 12.

  64. 64.

    Author’s interview with Michael Cusumano, 10 June 2019.

  65. 65.

    Thurston-Lighty, The Stars Aligned, 37.

  66. 66.

    MIT Sloan School of Management, Summary Memorandum, “The China Management Education Project,” 1 June 1996, 1.

  67. 67.

    Author’s interview with Alan White, 19 November 2020.

  68. 68.

    Thurston-Lighty, The Stars Aligned, 55.

  69. 69.

    Ibid., 41.

  70. 70.

    Ibid., 53.

  71. 71.

    Peter E. Hamilton, Made in Hong Kong: Transpacific Networks and a New History of Globalization (New York: Columbia University Press, Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, 2021).

  72. 72.

    Cronin, “Making a Difference,” 13.

  73. 73.

    Thurston-Lighty, The Stars Aligned, 86.

  74. 74.

    “Zhao Chunjun: A Visionary Educator Turning Seeds into Forests,” Fudan University Lifetime Achievement Award, December 2019.

  75. 75.

    MIT Sloan School of Management, “The China Management Education Project,” 1 June 1996, 1, 5.

  76. 76.

    Thurston-Lighty, The Stars Aligned, 99.

  77. 77.

    Ibid., 86. See also Cronin, “Making a Difference,” 41.

  78. 78.

    Cronin, “Making a Difference,” 41–42.

  79. 79.

    Ibid., 42–43.

  80. 80.

    Ibid., 39.

  81. 81.

    Thurston-Lighty, The Stars Aligned, 96.

  82. 82.

    Cronin, “Making a Difference,” 36.

  83. 83.

    Ibid., 44.

  84. 84.

    Thurston-Lighty, The Stars Aligned, 99; and Cronin, “Making a Difference,” 57.

  85. 85.

    Thurston-Lighty, The Stars Aligned, 10.

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Hamilton, P.E. (2022). The Revival of Management Education in Reform-Era China. In: Roberts, P. (eds) Chinese Economic Statecraft from 1978 to 1989. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-9217-8_5

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