Performance Management in China & Why It Succeeds


It is simplistic to say that China’s sheer size carries it on its journey, or that its steep economic trajectory is due to the low base from where it started 20 years ago. Success arrives on the back of hard work and dedication. Thomas Edison said that success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Performance management in China is proving just how right he was.

How Performance Management in China Functions

A western definition of performance management might be an ongoing process of communication between a supervisor and an employee to promote the strategic objectives of the organization while ensuring personal growth. Placing the interests of the individual on a par with the employer has given rise to management-centred control, and parochial interests in government and the c-suite in the west.

Performance management in China proceeds from a different assumption, as so elegantly explained in Gordon’s View on McKinsey’s blog. I will leave you to click on and study the infographic at the end. Before you do so, I should like to make a few observations.

  • Foshan is a prefecture-level city in Guangdong Province of China. A population of over seven million makes it more populous than Denmark.
  • Its top management criteria is economic development (31%), as measured by industrial upgrading, technological innovation, and developmental outcomes.
  • Next up is social development (25%) as assessed by public services, public safety, social integrity, and democracy and rule of law.
  • Urban development is weighted 19%. This includes upgrading, management, and environmental protection
  • Fourth comes governance development (15%) that Foshan defines as managerial innovation, administration by law and governance costs.
  • Finally, social assessment comes in at 10%. The people rate this one. It is their measure of their service satisfaction.

The Bottom Line on Performance Management in China

There is no mention of personal growth in the Foshan model, so perhaps their managers get a kick out of what they achieve, and not how they benefit personally. If that is the case, then hard work and dedication drives performance management in China. I wonder what system they used when they built their great wall.

About Author

Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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