Best Practice

Management Consulting and the Ethics of Financialization in China

Best Practice
Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: Published: November 2018

Author: Kimberly Chong

Subjects
Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Asian Studies > East Asia, Sociology

In Best Practice Kimberly Chong provides an ethnography of a global management consultancy that has been hired by Chinese companies, including Chinese state-owned enterprises. She shows how consulting emerges as a crucial site for considering how corporate organization, employee performance, business ethics, and labor have been transformed under financialization. To date financialization has been examined using top-down approaches that portray the rise of finance as a new logic of economic accumulation. Best Practice, by contrast, focuses on the everyday practices and narratives through which companies become financialized. Effective management consultants, Chong finds, incorporate local workplace norms and assert their expertise in the particular terms of China's national project of modernization, while at the same time framing their work in terms of global “best practices.” Providing insight into how global management consultancies refashion Chinese state-owned enterprises in preparation for stock market flotation, Chong demonstrates both the dynamic, fragmented character of financialization and the ways in which Chinese state capitalism enables this process.

Praise

"In this well-written book, the author underscores for her readers how consultancy unfolds as a very crucial site for the consideration of the transformation, in China, of corporations as well as business ethics, employee performance and labor in general in the context of financialization." — Augustine Adu Frimpong and Noah Kankam Kwarteng, African and Asian Studies

“Despite the significance of financialization in shaping global capitalism, its implementation and operationalization within corporations are often taken at face value. Scholars across disciplines have long recognized the need for an ethnographic account of management consulting to better understand how the cultural values of finance are translated into nonfinancial organizations. Kimberly Chong's ethnography of financialization in China is therefore compelling, insightful, and most welcome.” — Karen Ho, author of Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street


“Kimberly Chong provides a fascinating ethnography of the critical role that management consultants play in restructuring capitalist economic activity in China. Her book presents a convincing set of arguments both for how consultancy firms produce financialized subjects and why an ethical basis is needed for this work. It will provoke wide-ranging, interdisciplinary debates about how to assess financialization and its effects on everyday work.” — Lisa Rofel, coauthor of Fabricating Transnational Capitalism: A Collaborative Ethnography of Italian-Chinese Global Fashion


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Kimberly Chong is Lecturer of Anthropology at University College London.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction  1
1. High Performers: The Making of Financialized Subjects  35
2. Evaluating Humans: Financial Rationality and Practices of Performance-Related Pay  64
3. Reducing Costs: Shared Service Centers, Labor, and the Outsourcing Rationale  91
4. Training Value: The Moral and Political Project of Selling Consultancy  110
5. Client Sites: Liminality, Modernity, and Performances of Expertise  131
6. Building a Paradise: Post-Mao Visions of Transformation  151
7. Conspicuous Ethicizing: Corporate Culture, CSR, and Corporate Subjectivity  172
Conclusion  193
Notes  203
References  221
Index  241
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0088-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0069-3
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