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The effect of traditional Chinese fuzzy thinking on human resource practices in mainland China

Yuan, L. and Chia, R. (2011) The effect of traditional Chinese fuzzy thinking on human resource practices in mainland China. Chinese Management Studies, 5 (4). pp. 431-449. ISSN 1750-614X

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The purpose of this paper is to explore the effect of traditional Chinese fuzzy thinking and its particular effects on human resource management (HRM) practices in mainland China. Semi-structured interviews with practising managers and directors of Chinese companies were used to access the tacit message in HR practices cases and to capture the personal stories provided by Chinese managers with rich working experiences on HRM, in order to discover the cultural fundamentals beneath the surface of HR practices and so disclose their underlying significance. The data for the study were collected through in-depth interviews with 21 top managers and HR managers in Chinese companies about the role of Chinese fuzzy thinking in Chinese HRM practices. The results show that in HRM practices, the principle of Zhongyong significantly affects: preference in recruitment and selection practices; the preferred way of communication and negotiation; the relationship between superiors and subordinates and the relationship among employees; and the leadership styles. The research limitation mainly lies in an insufficient sample size, undivided geographical area and inadequate classification of the Chinese enterprises. This is the first paper of its kind to empirically investigate the effect of the ideal of Zhongyong, which the authors claim originates from Chinese traditional fuzzy thinking, on HRM practices in China.