This study recounts the story of a journey to China, in search of new ways to recruit and retain human resources that remain deeply influenced by ancient culture. It is also the story of four years of interactions with the Chinese population, social system, and culture while living, consulting, and travelling around the country.
In particular, this investigation explores recruitment and retention policies in selected foreign multinational corporations (MNCs) operating in the People’s Republic of China and emphasizes the critical role of social, situational, cultural, and organizational issues. Competition for talent in a tight labor market continues to increase in China, where the number of business graduates cannot meet growing demand. Recruiting and retaining local managers may be the greatest challenge in the Chinese job market, because talented managers who can oversee local operations and have knowledge of both the local market and international managerial approaches is fundamental for success. The shortage of such qualified managers is especially acute in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Early MNC entrants into China have battled late-comers; now they compete with privatizing state-owned enterprises and local companies.
This research examines the positions and key issues in literature related to the adoption and implementation of human resource policies, with specific attention to recruitment and retention in the specific national context of China. Both company- and context-related factors affect foreign MNCs’ choice of recruitment and retention policies, usually shaped at corporate headquarters. A case study with one major MNC that has long been operating in China provides insights, supported by information collected in interviews with various human resource professionals in other MNCs. The MNCs represent different industrial sectors in China and thus provide a homogeneous overview of the situation that avoids biases associated with a specific industrial sector.
By examining socio-political, legal, organizational, individual, and cultural influences on the operations of MNCs in China, this thesis provides recommendations for successful management recruitment and retention policies. It also indicates which policies seem successful in China and offers insights into the factors that produce less than satisfactory results.
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