The influence of Chinese social relation on personnel management between the supervisor and the supervisee in social welfare organizations in Hong Kong

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The influence of Chinese social relation on personnel management between the supervisor and the supervisee in social welfare organizations in Hong Kong


Author: Tam, Chi-keung
Title: The influence of Chinese social relation on personnel management between the supervisor and the supervisee in social welfare organizations in Hong Kong
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1998
Subject: Social service -- China -- Hong Kong -- Personnel management
Social workers -- Supervision of -- China -- Hong Kong
Organizational behavior -- China -- Hong Kong
Corporate culture -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: viii, 106 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: Chinese culture emphasizes "Qing" [情], an intensive long life primary relationship, "En" [恩] and "Pao" [報], a reciprocal exchange of concern and information, "Face" [面子], the status in interaction and "Relationship" [關係]. All these elements are absorbed in the Chinese social relation which formulates an important norm of Chinese society. It affects Chinese people's behavior both in daily life and work place very much. In social work profession, it is also easy to find examples that Chinese social relation has great influence on organizational behavior. For instance, a staff may get more benefit or good staff appraisal report not because of his/her good performance but due to good relationship with the supervisor. In fact, the social work profession in Hong Kong is strongly influenced by Chinese social relation. We are quite aware that the social welfare organization uses the Western management system for the organization's management and administration. It is bureaucratic in nature. It means that management is rational. The bureaucratic organization has a clear duty list for every staff in which there are responsibilities, guidelines for reward and punishment and standard for staff appraisal. It also emphasizes impersonality so that every staff should be fairly treated. However, the daily experience reflects that Chinese social relation does make great conflict with bureaucracy and creates great influence on management. The main objective of this study is to explore the influence of Chinese social relation on the personnel management between supervisor and supervisee in social welfare organizations in Hong Kong. Qualitative methodology was applied for this study. The questions asked in the interview was open-ended so that the degree of the influence of Chinese social relation could be examined in a contextual view. In-depth semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from six supervisees of casework setting of different agencies. This study considered the views from the supervisees who were social work trained practitioners at the rank of Assistant Social Work Officer. In this study, it was found that the supervisors were affected by the Chinese social relation very much in their decision making on the personnel activities. As a result, a lot of unfair personnel activities such as case assignment, appraisal report, staff development, leave taking and supervisory support were carried out by the supervisor either during supervision or supervisory duties. The degree of bad influence of those unfair events was very deep on the staff, the agency and even the social work profession. It was also analyzed that the Chinese social relation has great conflict with bureaucracy because of three main factors. They were supervisor's authority, personnel management system and human factors which could formulate both push or pull forces to/from bureaucracy. If the factors could decrease the negative effect of Chinese social relation, it would formulate the push force to bureaucracy. On the contrary, it would formulate pull force from bureaucracy when it reinforced negative effect of Chinese social relation. Finally, the study highlighted several recommendations for social work supervisor as : acknowledging importance of cultural context, equipping to be a fair supervisor, advocating a policy to set up a comprehensive system, strengthening communication channels and encouraging further studies on positive effects of Chinese social relation and effects of other Chinese culture.

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