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Organizational Control and Employee Resistance

HU, QIZHONG (2021) Organizational Control and Employee Resistance. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Material Abstract
Organizational Control and Employee Resistance

Qizhong Hu

The study explores organizational control and employee resistance in a German invested manufacturing firm in China, MEP China. MEP was a highly controlled organization through top-down management systems and widespread aggressive measures to control its largely blue collar workforce. The case study considers why employees at MEP rebelled against their management to go on strike to achieve their personal interest. It seeks to provide an “insider account” by the researcher. By exploring the nature of control and resistance in a Chinese context the study provides novel findings about the Eastern context of strikes and what differences these can make to understanding these issues in the workplace. The interviews and first-hand experience reveal intertwined issues of disunity and volatile disagreement between top management; power struggles and blame games; illegal firings of key employees for political reasons; the widespread demoralisation of workers; and the complex and culturally bound Labour regulations that both led to, and attempted to resolve, the ongoing Labour dispute. The thesis begins with an introduction to key concepts ranging from “Organizational Control” to “Employee Resistance” as well as an overview of the context of the study. It is followed by a literature review in chapter 2 that locates a research gap around the Chinese experience of strikes. Chapter 3, gives an overview of the methods used for the study including an explanatory case study research method (incorporating interviews) combined with an autoethnographic approach to provide richer and deeper understandings of the situation. In chapters 4 to 6, the results of the study are explored and key themes are drawn that explain findings in MEP, exploring the push and pull between organizational control and employee resistance. Finally, conclusions and recommendations are provided which use this rare case in Chinese industrial relations to provide lessons to organizations in similar situations.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Business Administration
Keywords:Organizational Control, Employee Resistance
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Business
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 Mar 2021 16:31

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