اصلاحات بخش دولتی,خصوصی و رژیمهای کنترل در یک شرکت چینی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|8512||2008||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting Forum, Volume 32, Issue 2, June 2008, Pages 162–177
The Chinese economic reform has recently become a major focus of attention around the world. The underlying rationale for the Chinese government's privatisation and public sector reforms is the view that reformed state enterprises and privately managed firms will demonstrate superior management control and better performance, and hence encourage economic growth and employment. There are very few intensive case studies published in English journals studying whether firms privatised in China have reversed previous losses and introduced better management controls, leading to increased investment, productivity, and overall organizational effectiveness and efficiency. The researchers do not seek to deny the control problems of Chinese SOEs, but question the consequences of the new controls installed during the post-privatisation period. The paper also reveals a declining tendency in employment; altered distributions of wealth – especially to the state – and labour, and a lack of improvements in the accountability of privatised companies. Overall, the paper argues, the aims of reform policies in China, including better control, increased profitability and an improved working life for Chinese people, have not materialized. The paper calls for more research on the above issues in the Chinese context.
The Chinese economic reform has recently become a major focus of attention around the world, not only because of its unique combination of dynamic performance and unusual institutional arrangements but also because its gradualist strategy has produced real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of more than 9% per annum over the past 24 years (Wu, 1997). Currently, the Chinese economy is undergoing its third great institutional transformation of the reform period. As an important process in deregulating a centrally controlled economy, privatisation has been a significant component of the current economic reform and restructuring (Chen, Jefferson, & Singh, 1992; McMillan & Naughton, 1992). The underlying rationale for the Chinese government's privatisation and public sector reforms is the view that reformed state enterprises and privately managed firms will demonstrate superior management control and better performance, and hence encourage economic growth and employment. These issues have received enormous attention in Chinese civil society. There has been a debate among professionals and academics in China as to whether Chinese structural programmes, including public sector reforms and privatisation, promote growth or stimulate corruption, with insiders and government officials rigging sales for their own benefits (Green, 2003). Very few intensive case studies have been published in English journals on the contribution of these changing controls to performance changes and development goals in the context of public sector reforms and privatisation in China (Chen, 2005). This paper focuses on the above issues. The “enterprise reform” stems predominantly from the advocacy of development economists that public sector reforms and privatisation can improve the governmental fiscal situation and the efficiency and performance of enterprises, and hence promote investment and economic growth in the long term (World Bank, 1995). Whilst the policy makers are intoxicated by the “wonderful” prospects of China's reform, some studies have shown evidence of the other extremes1 (Jefferson, 1999, Liu, 2000 and Nakagane, 2000). For example, Lang (n.d.) presented evidence to demonstrate that four private corporations “nibbled” public wealth in the process of privatising SOEs. Whilst previous studies in China have mainly focused on the financial performance of privatised companies, other issues relevant to broader reform programmes, such as the effects of ownership changes on management control, accountability and contribution to development goals, have remained under studied. This study, therefore, attempts to address this research gap in the Chinese context. This paper, drawing on Burawoy's factory regimes2 and political economy of development, seeks to understand the effects of public sector reforms and privatisation on control transformations, performance and accountability. The paper is structured as follows: Section 1 presents the historical background of the Chinese economic reform and the current wave of privatisation. The theoretical background is discussed in section two, which also presents a literature review on privatisation and public sector reforms. A brief delineation of the research methods is presented next, followed by a section on empirical findings from a privatised bearing company. Finally, the paper concludes by returning to the original research questions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper set out to understand the changes of controls, performance and accountability in a privatised company in China. Our findings suggest that the transformation of ownership is not a sufficient or essential condition for superior management controls, better performance or broader development goals. During the period of state ownership, HS was operating under the state's plans and control. Control was primarily secured by bureaucratic commands, often for political gains rather than commercial ends. Detailed systems of control and accountability were maintained but became ritualistic and de-coupled from operations. Burawoy's depiction of bureaucratic despotism seems to be a useful analytical tool to articulate the control regime during the state ownership of HS. This is consistent with other studies in LDCs (Jones & Sefiane, 1992; Ouibrahim & Scapen, 1989; Wickramasinghe, 1996). Nevertheless, HS was a profitable concern during the state's ownership, with many of the benefits flowing to the government. HS generated employment and made significant contributions to the state's coffers significantly. However, in a bid to match the central reform plans, HS's ownership was changed in 1978. This was an attempt to separate the enterprise from the central Chinese Authority without selling shares to the public. As we argued earlier, bureaucratic despotism declined in significance but still maintained its presence during this period in HS. Financial accounting and budget systems changed following reforms. HS had to comply with the accounting standards. Reforms also led to control changes, including the introduction of a contract responsibility system, budgeting and new governance mechanisms, manifested as a two-tier board structure. Nevertheless, state bureaucrats and political cadres retained their hold over major decisions: problems associated with bureaucracy and politicisation persisted. HS's performance did not improve much following the reforms in 1978. By 1991, HS had seen some improvements, such as the escalation of sales and fluctuating profits. This continued until 2002—a year before full privatisation. HS was fully privatised in 2003 in order to improve control and performance. Our evidence indicates that HS maintained the external reporting system used previously. Controls were changed, with severe consequences, particularly for workers and lower level employees. Budgets are now more market-oriented but centralized. Lower level managers exert little influence on controls but execute managerial command, directly influenced by the dominant shareholder. Controls over employees have become coercive. Increased control over workers was established by the increased use of low paid, temporary labourers, and by widespread redundancies. These actions were justified by a rhetoric of market economy and accounting priorities such as cost savings, productivity and profitability. Employee resistance was minimal. Neo-classical assumptions that private ownership would make controls more commercial were, to a degree, correct. Budgetary controls have become more flexible, being focused on market information rather than production, as was previously the case. Nevertheless, private ownership has brought managerial technologies, including the introduction of new internal labour markets, and following widespread redundancies, most workers are now hired on a temporary basis with little state protection, with severe consequences for workers, society and the country in general. The changes have increased worker conflict and rendered workers powerless. These changes of controls are consistent with Burawoy's prediction of coercive control within a new despotic regime. Furthermore, there is no evidence of any benefits of privatisation trickling down to labour: wages have declined and there is an ill-paid group of casual workers. The evidence also suggests that changes in management control and incentives have not reinforced productivity targets. HS's productivity and capability utilisation have declined considerably since the beginning of the economic reform. Although these indices surged slightly following privatisation, they still remained lower than they had been prior to reform. It may be too early to judge the effects of privatisation upon HS's commercial performance at this point, as a simple comparison of financial results in different periods without considering the influences of inflation and government protection may be misleading. However, it is undeniable that HS's performance has deteriorated since the adoption of superior management control. Despite the sudden escalation of HS's profits following privatisation, there was no marked improvement in the performance of its main business, which continued to make losses. Contributions to state coffers also diminished. Accounting reporting and accountability remained unchanged. The transparency of the privatisation process has been a focus of debate in Chinese civil society. The trend found in the case study–sudden increases in HS's losses and profits around the privatisation event - is not a unique event, as other studies have indicated similar patterns (Uddin & Hopper, 2003; Wu, 1997). These findings support the suspicion that privatisation may redistribute public wealth to private hands. Overall, this paper does not wish to deny that there are control problems in state-owned enterprises in China. Nevertheless, contextual problems in China, such as huge income gaps, poverty and other structural conditions, render neo-classical solutions ineffective. Recently, the IMF and other monetary agencies called for state intervention in China, as the economy was overheating. Thus, in keeping with other recent studies elsewhere, this paper questions the effectiveness of the privatisation and structural adjustment programmes in China (Uddin & Hopper, 2001, 2003; Wickramasinghe, 1996; Wickramasinghe & Hopper, 2005). Our case study evidence is more in line with a political economy perspective, which is sceptical about whether promoting private property rights will necessarily improve enterprise controls and profitability, or whether such accomplishments will necessarily lead to the attainment of development goals. The observations in HS and previous studies extend these arguments further, suggesting that even where owners have direct access to controls, property right predictions may not materialise. As Wortzel and Wortzel (1989) comment: “Private sector ownership is no guarantee of good performance. Private sector firms in every corner of the world go bankrupt every day. The determinants of the firm's success or failure are not who owns it” (p. 639). In China, control problems in state-owned enterprises are associated with political interventions and wider socio-economic institutional arrangements. We argue that these political linkages will not go away simply as a result of a change in ownership or of implementing reforms, as observed earlier in HS. Relationships and motivation are more complicated than agency theory predicts, and it may be beyond its scope to model them (Armstrong, 1991). Previous accounting research has highlighted that the relationship between a manager's efforts and a firm's outputs in terms of profitability can be more difficult to identify and measure than is alluded to (Hopper, Cooper, Lowe, Capps, & Mouritsen, 1986). Similarly, accounting controls, central to privatisation policies, are socially and politically constructed, be they in the private or the public sector, as argued in a number of seminal accounting research papers (Burchell, Clubb, Hopwood, Hughes, & Nahapiet, 1980; Hopper, Storey, & Willmot, 1987; Neimark & Tinker, 1986; Tinker, 1980). Thus, we argue, it is unwise to assume that the efficient forms of accounting controls expected by productive efficiency theories will automatically flow from policies advocating privatisation. Drawing on the political economy of development and Burawoy's factory regimes, we would like to argue that structural adjustment policies such as privatisation serve the few, instead of many billions. Our intensive case study evidence and previous studies in LDCs and developed countries strongly support the above concerns. The case study shows how a handful of managers and political cadres are able to capture state-owned enterprises. Uddin and Tsamenyi (2005) raised similar concerns in Ghana. Uddin and Hopper's (2003) research found that privatised companies had not only failed to contribute to the state coffers but had also increased social costs via redundancies and casualisation. Haselipa, Dynerb, and Cherni (2005), in Argentina, found that public sector reforms and privatisation eventually increased income inequality and unemployment, and led to a weakening of social security. Studies in developed countries reveal the same story (Arnold & Cooper, 1999; Crompton & Jupe, 2003; Shaoul, 1997). These studies argue that a similar redistribution of wealth has been evident in the aftermath of privatisation in various sectors. Finally, the paper calls for more research on privatisation in China, especially focusing on the consequences of privatisation on the distribution of wealth and power, the despotic control of workers and the emergence of crony capitalism in China and elsewhere (Burawoy, 1985 and Burawoy, 1979; Uddin & Hopper, 2001).