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Institutional change as cultural change: An illustration by Chinese postsocialist transformation

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Purpose ‐ Through Chinese experience, the purpose of this paper is to underpin the hypothesis of institutional change as cultural change. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper compares Chinese postsocialist transformation to a chemical change reaction. So, the paper discerns initial conditions, factors which triggered the reaction, catalysts, and elements of synthesis. Chinese institutional change per se derived from a cultural shock induced by the economic, political, and cultural opening which acted as trigger. Then, it deals with the other elements of the process. Findings ‐ The paper reveals that Chinese postsocialist transformation is based on change in values and mentalities particularly in the Chinese Communist Party. In this perspective, institutional change is not only an economic or a political process but also it is fundamentally cultural. Originality/value ‐ This paper shows the process of postsocialist transformation in a different light. Whereas, economists often only focus on political considerations or conflicts of interests, it insists on the cultural dimension of the process.
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Keywords: China; Culture; Organizational change

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 5, 2009

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