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Paradoxes of Organizational Theory and Research: Using the Case of China to Illustrate National Contingency


  • Oded Shenkar

    (Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978 Israel and College of Business Administration, University of Hawaii-Manoa, 2404 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822)

  • Mary Ann von Glinow

    (College of Business Administration, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199)


Chinese organizations are used in this paper to assess the universality of the macro and micro theories of organization that have been largely developed in North America. The analysis suggests that the theories vary in their degree of applicability to the Chinese context. While some theories, such as population ecology, seem to be clearly inapplicable, others, such as the equity theory of motivation, are more suitable, though they all require significant adjustment before they can be used to study and interpret the structure and processes of Chinese enterprises, and the attitudes and behavior of those employed in them. Making the adjustment, however, is likely to lead to positive developments in organizational theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Oded Shenkar & Mary Ann von Glinow, 1994. "Paradoxes of Organizational Theory and Research: Using the Case of China to Illustrate National Contingency," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(1), pages 56-71, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:40:y:1994:i:1:p:56-71
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.40.1.56

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    culture; institutions; China;


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