Management Insights

2023 Annual English Issue

When the world has plunged into so much darkness and chaos in 2022, our editorial team in Shanghai made extraordinary effort to publish four remarkable issues in the Chinese language. Each issue focuses on a timely and important topic, including the rise of China’s digital economy, how to motivate Gen Z workers to harness their energy and creativity for organization innovation, how to help sci-tech entrepreneurs to master management knowledge and skill, and how to address challenges facing nascent and existing Chinese global companies in today’s turbulent geopolitical environment. These topics shed hopeful lights for organizations and employees to navigate effectively in the troubled world.

Along with the special topic forums, each issue also contains carefully selected academic papers published in top management journals, such as the Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Management and Organization Review, in the form of “Research Highlights” – shorter and more digestible essays – to share with Chinese managers. I am pleased to share eight Research Highlights with our English readers in this Annual English Issue, along with the English translation of the two CEO interviews among the eight published in the four Chinese issues in 2022. I hope this condensed 2023 annual English issue gives our English readers a glimpse of what Management Insights attempts to achieve: bridging the gap between academic research and managerial practice.

Every research article offers profound findings and revelations. For example, in “From community to strangers: the spillover of cooperation”, Molina, Nee, and Holm surveyed 700 CEOs of private companies located in seven cities in China’s Yangzi River Delta region. They explored the mechanisms that facilitated the cooperation among strangers whose relationships are often fragile. They found that strengthening the norm of reciprocity and cooperation within a business community can substantially enhance the chances of cooperation in transactions with strangers, especially those in areas with stronger local markets. In “How did WeChat become a ‘new-to-the-world’ innovation”, Murmann and Zhu used historical case analysis and tracked the dynamics of competition in the Instant Messaging industry in China. They found that within Tencent, its multiple business units not only cooperate but also compete, and it is the internal “coopetition” that played a key role in the development of “new-to-the world” products. This coopetition dynamic occurred in three key business areas – technology, product promotion, and supplier complementary assets. In addition, top management guidance and firm-level routines were essential in managing the challenges of coopetition within the firm.  Studies at the individual level also provided deep insights. For example, in “Beyond Bounded Rationality: How CEO Reflective Capacity Drives Firm Sustainable Performance”, Jia, Tsui, and Yu surveyed CEOs and their executive-subordinates of 213 Chinese small-medium firms to identify the essential capabilities that can help firms to achieve sustainability performance (economic, social, and environmental). They discovered CEO reflective capacity – a higher-order cognitive capability – as most relevant to enable CEOs to engage in a purposeful process of continuous improvement by deriving connections between time, space, and relationships, and eventually leading to the firm’s sustainability performance.

The insights from the interviews with two Chinese entrepreneurs are fresh and eye-opening. The founder of FiveStar Holdings, Mr. Jianguo Wang explained how his acute business foresight and digital mindset were instrumental in building up his business empire. He attributed the success of his enterprise to four main qualities: openness, transparency, empowerment, and efficiency. The stories and reflections shared by Mr. Dongqi Qian, founder of ECOVACS Robotics and Tineco, are also fascinating. Using smart technologies to make cleaning robots and cooking robots, he views himself as a captain driving new ships in Blue Ocean, with a bright future ahead. 

I truly hope you enjoy reading this 2023 Annual English Issue of Management Insights. Happy 2023!

Xiao-Ping Chen
Executive Editor, Management Insights