How Chinese Companies Are Reinventing Management

MJ Greeven (First Author), Katherine R. Xin (Participant Author), George S. Yip (Participant Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal


China’s companies have long been acclaimed for their manufacturing prowess and, more recently, for their pragmatic approach to innovation. Now it’s time to recognize how they are reinventing the role of management through an approach the authors call “digitally enhanced directed autonomy,” or DEDA. These companies use digital platforms to give frontline employees direct access to shared corporate resources and capabilities, making it possible for them to organize themselves around specific business opportunities. Autonomy is not complete, nor is it given to everyone. It is directed exactly where it is needed, and what employees do with their autonomy is carefully tracked. The approach contrasts with the Western model of empowerment, which gives employees broad autonomy through reduced supervision. This article describes the three core features of the DEDA approach: granting employees autonomy at scale, supporting them with digital platforms, and setting clear, bounded business objectives. It offers examples of how companies are using those features and draws lessons for Western companies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-112
JournalHarvard Business Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Business enterprises
  • China
  • Manufacturing industries
  • Industrial relations
  • Management
  • Corporate culture
  • Innovations in business
  • Employee attitudes Autonomy
  • Psychology

Indexed by

  • ABDC-A
  • FT
  • SSCI


Dive into the research topics of 'How Chinese Companies Are Reinventing Management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this