Chinese Management Research Needs Self-Confidence but not Over-confidence

Xin Li, Li Ma

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Chinese management research aims to contribute to global management knowledge by offering rigorous and innovative theories and practical recommendations both for managing in China and outside. However, two seemingly opposite directions that researchers are taking could prove detrimental to the healthy development of Chinese management research. We argue that the two directions share a common ground that lies in the mindset regarding the confidence in the work on and from China. One direction of simply following the American mainstream on academic rigor demonstrates a lack of self-confidence, limiting theoretical innovation and practical relevance. Yet going in the other direction of overly indigenous research reflects over-confidence, often isolating the Chinese management research from the mainstream academia and at times, even becoming anti-science. A more integrated approach of conducting Chinese management research is recommended. Specifically, it is recommended that researchers can focus on phenomena salient in China and follow rigorous scientific methods, as illustrated by a few exemplary studies using the Chinese context. In this way, Chinese management research can advance if it becomes more self-confident in its study and application but not over-confident.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)481–498
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 28. February 2018


  • Mangement
  • Research
  • Anti-scientific
  • China
  • Self-confidence
  • Over-confidence
  • Rigor
  • Relevance
  • Scientific method

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