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Challenges in retraining workers laid-off by state-owned enterprises in China: findings from a field inquiry

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1This article addresses one of the many sensitive and challenging problems generated by China’s era of reform and economic growth: the need to retrain or educate laid-off (displaced) workers from state owned enterprises (SOEs). It does so to provide valuable insight for those responsible for the changes associated with the move to the current market economy, necessitating the retraining of large numbers of their population in a short period of time. Had this been achieved, it would have been an extraordinary accomplishment. It was not. The programs ran into at least one fundamental obstacle: laid-off workers overwhelmingly were not participating in them. Both Chinese training officials and scholars have asserted that the problem was a lack of the ‘right mentality’ among laid-off workers. However, this article reports data collected from interviews with laid-off workers in Zhangjiakou city, China which challenges that conventional wisdom.

Keywords: laid-off workers; retraining program; state-owned enterprises

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Health Sciences,RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia 2: School of Education,La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia 3: School of Psychology and Social Science,Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

Publication date: September 1, 2012


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