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Learning from China’s business leaders: Lessons for troubled times

Learning from China’s business leaders: Lessons for troubled times

Much was made in the seventies and eighties about what Western executives and managers could learn from Japan. This was because Japanese companies were penetrating U.S. markets and taking away market share from formerly dominant Western companies across a range of industries. However, relatively little has been written about lessons that Western executives and leaders can learn from Chinese leaders. This is in spite of the fact that Chinese businesses have grown rapidly, have shown their ability to innovate and have helped bring more people out of poverty in the last thirty years than any country in the history of the world.

What can we learn from China. In two articles, Dr. Tuttle explores this question and demonstrates that a two way dialog between Western and Chinese executives can be quite enlightening. In the first article, Dr. Tuttle and his co-authors interview three leading Chinese executives from different industries. They are Wang Xiancheng, Chairman of the Board of JCHX Mining Construction Group who shares thoughts about driving productivity in a global company engaged in rapidly setting up and operating mining operations around the world. The second executive is Dr. Wang Weicheng, President of the Beijing Energy Saving and Environmental Protection Foundation. This interview provides a fascinating glimpse into the organization that worked to clean the air in Beijing prior to the Beijing Olympic Games and describes how he has worked in conjunction with the Chinese Government and manufacturing organizations and electric utilities to implement energy conservation programs. Finally the article concludes with an interview with Mr. Li Jiaxing, Vice Minister and Acting Member of the General Administration of the Ministry of Transport for China and concurrently he served as the Administrator of Civil Aviation of China (similar to the FAA in the U.S). This article focuses on how Mr. Li, when he was CEO of Air China, turned around a former State owned airline and made it one of the leading global airlines in the world operating as a private business. There are many lessons from this interview with direct application in the Western world.

The second article presents a fascinating interview with Dr. Dezhi Lu Chairperson of the Huamin Charity Foundation in Beijing. Dr. Lu shares his philosophy of management of a private charity organization and presents examples of very important programs that are serving to lift people in China from poor rural areas into the middle class. There are very relevant applications of this article in western societies who have seen the ladder out of poverty become more difficult to climb.

Thomas C. Tuttle, Chen Shengchang, John P. Heap, and Tiano Yan, Learning from China’s business leaders: lessons for troubled times. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 59 No. 3, 2010, 274-299.

Thomas C. Tuttle and Chen Shengchang. Productivity in a private charity: Interview with the founder and leader of one of China’s largest private charity foundations. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol 61,5, 2012, 563-577.