This study seeks to examine the managerial behavior of Chinese managers, as observed by their superiors, subordinates, and peers in a stateowned enterprise in China. Specifically, this study aims to explore two questions. First, what managerial behaviors are perceived as being effective in the Chinese stateowned enterprise? Second, what managerial behaviors are perceived as being least effective or ineffective in the Chinese stateowned enterprise?
An exploratory qualitative study was conducted using critical incident (CI) interview techniques. From 35 managers of one large stateowned telecommunication company in Western China, 230 usable CIs were collected. In total, 31 themes were identified from the thematic analysis, of which 14 related to effective managerial behaviors and 17 related to ineffective behaviors.
An effective Chinese manager is perceived as being supportive, caring, fair, engaging, selfdisciplined, unselfish, responsible, and knowledgeable. While findings of the study highlight the continuing influence of the traditional Chinese culture on the perceived effectiveness of managerial behaviors, they also suggest a clear shift from traditional values that emphasize authoritarian management to Western values that encourage participative management.
While the small sample may limit the generalizability of the study, findings expand the current knowledge base of Chinese management and can be useful for further empirical testing.
This study provides some parameters for benchmarking and evaluating Chinese managerial practices. The identified indicators of effective and ineffective managerial behaviors can be incorporated into the development of a Chinese management competency model or instrument, and a more targeted management development intervention.
This study taps an underexplored research territory China, and is one of the first attempts at identifying effective managerial behavior indicators of Chinese managers using the CI technique. By adopting an inductive approach this study provides rich qualitative data that can be useful for developing an indigenous tool appropriate in the Chinese context.