Nottingham Business School to study trust and effective management as China's links with Zambia grow

China's growing influence in Zambia and the relationship between Chinese bosses and local workers in the resource-rich southern African state are to be studied by a specialist at Nottingham Business School, part of Nottingham Trent University.

China's growing influence in Zambia and the relationship between Chinese bosses and local workers in the resource-rich southern African state are to be studied by a specialist at Nottingham Business School, part of Nottingham Trent University.

As Chinese investment, primarily in mining, heads for $3bn, there are claims of exploitation, poor safety and mistrust based on cultural differences. Equally, it could be said that Zambia is benefitting hugely in terms of new infrastructure and affordable products.

Dr Lisa Qixun Siebers says her work will give recommendations for effective management of Chinese-African relations, as well as addressing concerns about employment creation, poverty and fair and lawful management practices.

"Some feel that Chinese firms are driven solely by the need for resources to feed China's rapidly growing economy," said Dr Siebers.

"Others are more optimistic. Zambia is one of the biggest recipients of Chinese investment and many believe it is benefitting profoundly.

"Both State-owned and private Chinese companies are investing heavily in Africa so we need to look at how these businesses are conducted and recommend changes in need that will benefit both China and the African states."

The study, 'Chinese Investments in Southern Africa: The Zambian Case', will examine five key areas:

  • What attracts Chinese firms to Zambia and how Zambia and other African countries can maximise potential investment.
  • Employment practices adopted by Chinese firms and their effects on working conditions and developing local expertise.
  • The effectiveness of conflict resolution mechanisms.
  • Career advancement for Zambian managers within Chinese-owned businesses.
  • The impact of Chinese cultural values and how they impact on the attitudes of Zambian employees.

It will examine fairness and trust, how investors and local personnel – both employees and managers – define their needs, how cultural differences and power relationships are adapted and negotiated and how conflicts might be resolved.

Dr Siebers' Zambian research is part of a planned ten-year programme studying the growing relationship between China and a number of African nations.

This wider work is being carried out with Professor Ken Kamoche, the University of Nottingham-based leader of the Africa Research Group and support from Professor Sekelani Banda, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Zambia University.

Funding was provided from the Emerald African Management Research Fund.

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Nottingham Business School to study trust and effective management as China's links with Zambia grow

Published on 18 February 2014
  • Category: Press office; Research; Nottingham Business School

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