Kimberly Chong offers a rich ethnographic account of how a global management consultantcy translates and implements the logic of financialization in contemporary China.
In Best Practice Kimberly Chong provides an ethnography of a global management consultancy that has been hired by Chinese companies, including Chinese state-owned enterprises. She shows how consulting emerges as a crucial site for considering how corporate organization, employee performance, business ethics, and labor have been transformed under financialization. To date financialization has been examined using top-down approaches that portray the rise of finance as a new logic of economic accumulation. Best Practice, by contrast, focuses on the everyday practices and narratives through which companies become financialized. Effective management consultants, Chong finds, incorporate local workplace norms and assert their expertise in the particular terms of China's national project of modernization, while at the same time framing their work in terms of global best practices. Providing insight into how global management consultancies refashion Chinese state-owned enterprises in preparation for stock market flotation, Chong demonstrates both the dynamic, fragmented character of financialization and the ways in which Chinese state capitalism enables this process.
Table of contents:
Acknowledgments Introduction 1. High Performers: The Making of Financialized Subjects 2. Evaluating Humans: Financial Rationality and Practices of Performance-Related Pay 3. Reducing Costs: Shared Service Centers, Labor, and the Outsourcing Rationale 4. Training Value: The Moral and Political Project of Selling Consultancy 5. Client Sites: Liminality, Modernity, and Performances of Expertise 6. Building a Paradise: Post-Mao Visions of Transformation 7. Conspicuous Ethicizing: Corporate Culture, CSR, and Corporate Subjectivity Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index
Kimberly Chong is Lecturer of Anthropology at University College, London.