China is going through an almost unprecedented phase in its recent history. It is trying to build an internationally competitive future, while still holding on to its socialist past. Forms of economic organization are changing accordingly. In 1987, the Chinese government introduced the Shareholding Cooperative System (SHCS) as a bridge between collectivism and the inevitable trend towards privatization.
Based on a study carried out between 1995 and 1997, the authors evaluate the consequences of the SHCS for rural enterprises. They shed light on changes in property structures, management practices, profit sharing, participation in decision making and interference by local government, and how these affect workers' satisfaction and motivation.
The study shows there is little uniformity in the way existing collective shareholding enterprises are shaped. The authors argue that it is essentially this feature of the SHCS which has contributed to its successful spread and acceptance. Some problem areas remain to be addressed, however, and the study offers a number of recommendations.
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