Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



The Journal of Business Communication 34:3 (July 1997), pp. 289–315.

doi: 10.1177/002194369703400305


Copyright © 1997 Association for Business Communication; published by Sage. Used by permission.


This study identifies approaches to managerial influence in the People’s Republic of China and examines the reflection of cultural themes in these approaches. Forty-eight factory directors from state-owned enterprises completed a survey in which they reported what they would say to workers in obligatory and nonobligatory work situations. Descriptive coding was used to develop message category systems for each situation. A more interpretive form of analysis was used to identify how the cultural themes of values, political ideology, and changing managerial roles were reflected in the influence approaches reported. The interrelated cultural values of group-centeredness, hierarchy, and face concern were reflected most often, followed by political ideology and changing managerial roles. Results reveal how managerial influence in China is best understood within the relational, political, and economic contexts in which it occurs.