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Intercultural influences on managing African employees of Chinese firms in Africa: Chinese managers’ HRM practices

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>International Business Review
Issue number1 Part A
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)28-41
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date25/06/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The present paper addresses the important inter-organizational relationship between Chinese firms and local unions by investigating Chinese managers’ HRM practices in managing African employees. We utilize the storytelling research method to obtain a nuanced understanding of this little-understood, yet important phenomenon. Our data was collected through in-depth narrative interviews with 32 Chinese managers (both senior and middle) with three to eight years of professional experience in African countries from 21 Chinese firms (both state-owned and privately owned). We found that Chinese managers’ crossvergence HRM practices are a blend of divergent local contextual factors and convergent cultural factors. Our findings reveal that the cultural proximity between African “Ubuntu” and Chinese Confucianism can significantly influence Chinese firm-local union inter-organizational relationship in managing African employees of Chinese firms. The crossvergence of Chinese managers’ HRM practices can gradually affect the work behaviors of African employees over time. The paper identifies importance of the cross-cultural training and mutual learning between Chinese managers and African employees to enhance mutual understanding against the backdrop of Chinese firms entering Africa countries. Our study contributes to the better understanding of HRM practices of emerging market multinational corporations, and has important practical implications for managing African employees.