The restructuring of market socialism: the contribution of an 'agency' theoretical perspective

Zheng, P. and Scase, R. (2013) The restructuring of market socialism: the contribution of an 'agency' theoretical perspective. Thunderbird: International Business Review, 55 (1). pp. 103-114. ISSN 1520-6874.

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Abstract

Most discussions of the development of market socialism in China adopt an ‘institutional approach’ in which socio-economic and political organizations are described as a complex set of arrangements determined by the policies and role of the Communist Party. Such institutions are often seen to be little more than passive forces responding to the imperatives and stipulations of the Party. However the character and continuing development of market socialism is far more complex than this. It is made up of inter-acting forces that are the outcome of the purposive actions of economic agents that, although created and nurtured by the Party, create tensions within the socio-economic structure and thereby shape the direction of societal change. It is these that constitute many of the defining characteristics of market socialism. There is, the tensions between the imperatives of an emerging market economy and the political imperatives of the Party. But there are others that are determined by the goals and values of a diversity of agents within both the state-owned and privately-owned sectors of the economy. For an understanding of these, we argue in this paper for the need to adopt an ‘agency approach’; that is, one that focuses upon the key roles of actors and agencies, in shaping institutional arrangements of the sort that constitute present-day market socialism. This, we argue, does not displace an ‘institutional’ theoretical perspective but compliments it thereby offers a more complete insight into the generic character of a socio-economic structure; in this case, Chinese market socialism.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Business and Management > Department of Management Studies
Depositing User: Dr Ping Zheng
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2013 12:42
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 14:11
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/12006

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00