Dragon in a Three-Piece Suit: The Emergence of Capitalism in China by Doug GuthrieDragon in a Three-Piece Suit: The Emergence of Capitalism in China by Doug Guthrie

Dragon in a Three-Piece Suit: The Emergence of Capitalism in China

byDoug Guthrie

Paperback | January 15, 2002

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Dragon in a Three-Piece Suit is an innovative sociological examination of what is perhaps the main engine of economic reform in China, the large industrial firm. Doug Guthrie, who spent more than a year in Shanghai studying firms, interviewing managers, and gathering data on firms' performance and practices, provides the first detailed account of how these firms have been radically transformed since the mid-1980s.

Guthrie shows that Chinese firms are increasingly imitating foreign firms in response both to growing contact with international investors and to being cut adrift from state support. Many firms, for example, are now less likely to use informal hiring practices, more likely to have formal grievance filing procedures, and more likely to respect international institutions, such as the Chinese International Arbitration Commission. Guthrie argues that these findings support the de-linking of Western trade policy from human rights, since it is clear that economic engagement leads to constructive reform. Yet Guthrie also warns that reform in China is not a process of inevitable Westernization or of managers behaving as rational, profit-maximizing agents. Old habits, China's powerful state administration, and the hierarchy of the former command economy will continue to have profound effects on how firms act and how they adjust to change.

With its combination of rigorous argument and uniquely rich detail, this book gives us the most complete picture yet of Chinese economic reform at the crucial level of the industrial firm.

Doug Guthrie is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Global Activities, Office of the Provost, at New York University.
Title:Dragon in a Three-Piece Suit: The Emergence of Capitalism in ChinaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pagesPublished:January 15, 2002Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691095191

ISBN - 13:9780691095196


Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

List of Tables ix

Preface and Acknowledgments xi

1. Firm Practices in China's Transforming Economy: Efficiency or Mimicry? 3

2. Path Dependence in China's Economic Transition 24

3. Formal Rational Bureaucracies in Chinese Firms: Causes and Implications 42

4. Changing Labor Relations in the Period of Market Reform 75

5. The Politics of Price Setting in China's Transition Economy 101

6. Economic Strategies in the Face of Market Reforms 121

7. Institutional Pressure, Rational Choice, and Contractual Relations: Chinese-Foreign Negotiations in the Economic Transition 150

8. The Declining Significance of Connections in China's Economic Transition 175

9. Conclusions and Implications 198


1. Methodology and Sampling 219

2. Interviews and Informants 228

3. Complete Interview Schedule 235

4. Sample Characteristics and Variables 240

Notes 249

References 281

Index 299

Editorial Reviews

"Guthrie brings new insights and fresh perspectives to the study of organizational change in China during the process of economic reform. The book is exceptionally well written and moves easily between organizational theory and 'big questions,' on the one hand, and the particularities of Chinese experience on the other."-Barry Naughton, University of California, San Diego