Research to study how South Africa can learn from its Chinese investors

As China's largest African trading partner, research which examines how South Africa could learn from Chinese cultural values to compete with the superpower in the global economic stakes is to be carried out by Nottingham Business School.

As China's largest African trading partner, research which examines how South Africa could learn from Chinese cultural values to compete with the superpower in the global economic stakes is to be carried out by a specialist at Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University.

Dr Lisa Qixun Siebers, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, will interview Chinese senior managers and local managers and employees who work in and for Chinese firms located in South Africa to understand how the former's cultural values impact on management practices and the socialisation process in Sino-South African organisations.

Funded by the British Academy and SAMS, the research is part of a three phase project on Chinese investments in sub-Saharan Africa, with the first two stages focusing on Chinese investments and conflict resolutions in Kenya and Zambia.

As well as questions about the business, and the challenges and opportunities presented by its location in South Africa, Dr Siebers will question the Chinese senior managers on topics such as their understanding of the Ubuntu culture in South Africa and how they socialise with the local workers. To the South African managers and employees, questions will mainly be on the working relationships between Chinese and South African employees and the role of South African workers within the company.

Dr Siebers said: "This investigation moves our research away from how business is conducted to the multi-dimensional cultural aspects with regards to China and Africa. We want to see how the cultural values of the two countries have an impact on the management of people in these Chinese firms, and how this compares to other African countries.

"The findings will also allow us to explore the extent to which South Africa could equalise their status when doing business with China, and how both countries can learn from each other and work together to create sustainable partnerships."

Lisa will be visiting both South Africa and Zambia later this year. She has already travelled to Kenya to interview over 70 senior managers.

As well as a conference in Kenya next year bringing all the researchers together, Dr Siebers will be presenting her findings to the Department of International Development, where she has already presented the research findings on Kenya.

Dr Siebers' work is also part of a planned ten-year programme studying the growing relationship between China and a number of African nations and she hopes to extend the research to Nigeria, Uganda and South Sudan in the future.

This wider work is being carried out with Professor Ken Kamoche, the University of Nottingham-based leader of the Africa Research Group. Dr. Siebers' future collaborations in this research area are aimed for more across disciplinary research on management, political economy, and computer science.

Research to study how South Africa can learn from its Chinese investors

Published on 3 November 2014
  • Category: Press office; Research; Nottingham Business School

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418