Encountering Chinese Networks: Western, Japanese, and Chinese Corporations in China, 1880-1937
Sherman CochranISBN: 0520216253; 9780520216259;
Big businesses have faced a persistent dilemma in China since the nineteenth century: how to retain control over corporate hierarchies while adapting to local social networks. Sherman Cochran, in the first study to compare Western, Japanese, and Chinese businesses in Chinese history, shows how various businesses have struggled with this issue as they have adjusted to dramatic changes in Chinese society, politics, and foreign affairs. Cochran devotes a chapter each to six of the biggest business ventures in China before the Communist revolution: two Western-owned companies, Standard Oil and British-American Tobacco Company; two Japanese-owned companies, Mitsui Trading Company and Naigai Cotton Company; and two Chinese-owned firms, Shenxin Cotton Mills and China Match Company. In each case, he notes the businesses' efforts to introduce corporate hierarchies for managing the distribution of goods and the organization of factory workers, and he describes their encounters with a...