Transferring organizational practices and the dynamics of hybridisation: Japanese retail multinationals in China

Dr Jos Gamble, Royal Holloway, University of London

29.Apr.2009 17.00
Room G.03, 20 Cromer Terrace - Leeds


This paper draws upon detailed case study research, including 146 interviews, conducted at Japanese multinational retail firms in both their home country and their subsidiaries in China. It seeks to assess a range of prominent theoretical perspectives that have been used to account for the transfer of organizational practices. Aspects explored include: patriarchal management, selection and recruitment, lifetime employment and internal labour markets, pay systems and customer service. Approaches based upon culturalist, national business systems, industry sector, international division of labour and agency perspectives are shown to be inadequate to account for the complex patterns of transfer, local adoption and adaptation in these multinational companies. The paper also identifies important factors in the dynamics of hybridisation that have been neglected or downplayed in much of the existing literature.

This paper is based upon research conducted as part of a four year long ESRC/AHRC funded project, ‘Multinational Retailers in the Asia Pacific' (


Jos Gamble is a Reader in Asia Pacific Business at the School of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London. During 1988 to 1990, he studied Chinese at Fudan University in Shanghai. He graduated subsequently with a PhD in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and has undertaken extensive field research in China, as well as Japan, South Korea and Malaysia. He is the author of Shanghai in Transition: Changing Perspectives and Social Contours of a Chinese Metropolis (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003) and has published papers in a variety of journals including the Journal of Management Studies, the British Journal of Industrial Relations, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, and Work, Employment & Society. He recently concluded a four year long ESRC/AHRC funded project, ‘Multinational Retailers in the Asia Pacific', as a part of the Cultures of Consumption programme. For further details see


For more info contact or

Confirmation of attendance, contact: