Responsiveness to a new course and new performance controls: Insights from inside a recently conglomerated Chinese state-owned enterprise
Using an institutional theory lens, our study examines how variations in responsiveness to formal organisation-wide changes bring about diversity in the functioning of the same management control system in different units of an organisation. As we conducted the study inside a Chinese state-owned enterprise’s headquarters and at three of its factories, we illustrate the use and relevance to the Chinese socialist market economy of a theoretical framework developed from research undertaken in organisations functioning as part of the Western socio-economic system of market capitalism. We focus on the role of responsiveness in distinguishing formal and informal change, the distinction in question giving rise to varieties in the kinds of coupling occurring simultaneously in the same organisation. We show that the functionings of coupling are dynamic and that assessing them is facilitated through comparison over time in one location and with concurrent circumstances in other locations. We suggest that some of the non-responsiveness/resistance relates to the socio-economic system in China being community-based economic, rather than neo-classical economic, and how this difference is manifested in the production sphere, and investigating this further would be valuable.