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Handbook of Research on Comparative Human Resource Management

Handbook of Research on Comparative Human Resource Management

Elgar original reference

Edited by Chris Brewster and Wolfgang Mayrhofer

This unique and path-breaking Handbook explores the issue of comparative Human Resource Management (HRM) and challenges the notion that there can be a ‘one best way’ to manage HRM.

Chapter 26: HRM and Asian Socialist Economies in Transition: China, Vietnam and North Korea

Ngan Collins, Ying Zhu and Malcolm Warner

Subjects: business and management, human resource management


Ngan Collins, Ying Zhu and Malcolm Warner In East Asia, there are three so-called ‘socialist countries’, namely the People’s Republic of China (henceforth to be referred to as China), the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK; North Korea). These three countries have experienced very different political, economic and social changes. China, the most populous of the three by far, started its economic reform and ‘Open Door’ policy in the late 1970s and it has become one of the largest economies and an influential political power in international affairs. Vietnam developed a relatively moderate reform agenda labelled as ‘Doi Moi’ a little later, as its route to economic renovation. Now, Vietnam has emerged as one of the leading economies among the ASEAN group in Southeast Asia. Both China and Vietnam claim their economies as ‘socialist market economies’. However, North Korea had adopted a rather slow and careful strategy regarding reform and they still follow their former ‘Great Leader’ Chairman Kim Il Sung’s approach with its characteristics of top-down socialist planning and political self-reliance. It started to learn from its ‘socialist brothers’ of China and Vietnam late in the day and has built a small number of special economic zones and industrial parks. But due to lack of foreign investment and technological and management ‘know-how’, as well as tension between north and south from time to time, these economic reform initiatives have not to date proved to be very successful. In this chapter, we aim...

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