Abstract: Professional Associations and the Diffusion of New Management Ideas in Shanghai, 1920-1930s: A Research Agenda

Stephen L. Morgan


In this paper, I examine the role business, professional, and academic networks played in diffusing new management ideas, such as scientific management, in China during the inter-war years. At the core of these associations were Chinese who had returned from overseas studies to take positions in academia, business, and government. There was much overlap in the association memberships and crossing between industry, government, and academic employment. While institutional theorists, business historians, and others have studied the role of professional associations in the growth and diffusion of modern management, there has been little work on "modern" professional bodies in China, in particular the "network linkages" or "interlocks" among the associations and their memberships that facilitated the transfer and diffusion of managerial ‘know-how' across borders. Data are primarily archival and other Chinese sources. This paper is part of a larger project on the development of management ideas and business organization in China.

BEH On-Line Paper