Culture, Literature, and the Contradictions of Socialist Capitalism in Chinese Corporate Magazines

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Journal Article
Asian Studies Review, 2010, 34 (1), pp. 41 - 61
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Most large Chinese corporations publish e-magazines to which employees are encouraged to contribute on various topics, ranging from management and work issues to creative writing and other creative "cultural" work such as poetry, calligraphy and photography. These e-magazines provide a central venue where employees can learn about what is important to the .firm's management. They are one of the major vehicles through which large Chinese corporations promote their organisational cultures to employees and inculcate their corporate values. Yet at the same time, they give employees the opportunity to showcase their own talents to a wide audience within the corporation. A close reading of contributions to the e-magazines of several corporations reveals a combination of sometimes contradictory values, including Western management ideas, socialist-style collectivism and lyrical poetic escapism. This mixture reflects the complexity of "subcultures" within Chinese corporations in a rapidly transforming society. It also demonstrates that corporate magazines can be both a management tool for improving firm performance and a vehicle for promoting ideals such as the cultural betterment and self-realisation of employees.
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