The Logic of Governance in China: An Organizational Approach

  • Xueguang Zhou, Sociology, Stanford University
    Coach House, Green College, UBC and livestreamed

    Wednesday, January 24, 5-6:30pm with reception to follow
    in the series
    China Logics

  • In this talk, Xueguang Zhou summarizes the main findings from his decade-long research on the institutional logic of governance in contemporary China. He argues that there is a fundamental tension in governing China—the tension between the centralization of authority and effective, local governance. Over time, the Chinese state has evolved with a series of governance mechanisms in response to these tensions, namely, variable coupling between the central authority and local governments; the symbiotic relationship between formal and informal institutions; the ritualization of the official ideology; and campaign-style mobilization. These governance mechanisms are reflected in and induce a distinct set of institutional arrangements and organizational behaviors in Chinese bureaucracy, such as shifting modes of governance, patterns of bargaining, collusive behaviors among local governments and cycles of centralization and decentralization. Understanding the logic of governance helps better understand governance practice in contemporary China.

    This event has been co-organized with the UBC Centre for Chinese Research.

    Xueguang Zhou is the Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development, a professor of sociology and a senior fellow at Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. His main area of research is institutional changes in contemporary Chinese society, focusing on Chinese organizations and management, social inequality, and state-society relationships. His recent publications include: “The Chinese bureaucracy in three lenses: Weberian, Confucian, and Marchian” (Management and Organizations 2022), and a book titled The Logic of Governance in China: An Organizational Approach (Cambridge University Press 2022). His ongoing research projects focus on (1) personnel flow and personnel management practice in the Chinese bureaucracy; (2) historical origins and evolution of institutions of governance in China.





    This interdisciplinary series examines the future of global sustainability, economy and security through the many images and understandings of China, a compelling and sometimes puzzling place. If understanding China constitutes a rational, emotional or symbolic anchor from which one’s ideas, actions and strategies are derived, then there is a need to capitalize on the rich amount of evidence that allows us to examine “China Logics” across time, space and interactions.

    Series Conveners: Timothy Cheek, History; Qiang Fu, Sociology; Julia Harten, Community and Regional Planning; Juliet Lu, Forest Resources Management | Public Policy and Global Affairs; Renren Yang, Asian Studies

  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.

January 24th, 2024 from  5:00 PM to  6:30 PM
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