RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Book Review:
Handbook of Research on Asian Business
Authors: H. Yeung

Yeung, H. (2007). Handbook of Research on Asian Business, Cheltenha: Edward Elgar

Reviewed by: Samir Ranjan Chatterjee

Interest in research on Asian Business has grown dramatically as the emerging economies of Asia increasingly challenge the global hegemony of the West. Scholarly journals, books, conferences and other forums are actively promoting research and knowledge generation in the Asian context. It is, therefore, not surprising that a handbook of research on Asian Business should be published to invigorate scholars in the field. The book under review is an edited volume with 22 chapters grouped under four parts contributed by thirty one authors. The book is essentially an interesting collection of scholarly papers on macro level issues related to Asian Business. Four areas are covered - namely Business Strategy and Organisations, Business and Marketing, Business State Relations and Business Development and Policy Issues. Each of these four areas includes about five papers on various topics of interest. Of the twenty one topics included in the volume, research specifically related to the China and Chinese context account for the eight chapters while no specific chapter were devoted to Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, India or Vietnam.

The papers are scholarly in nature and sound in methodological sophistication. However, the areas do not gain any synergy or overwhelming impact as the collection of five papers in each part do not add up to a cohesive or integrative insight for researchers. There is no contextual or historical overview of strategy research in the Asian context. Readers are not provided in Part 1 with glimpses of seminal contributions of macro level meta theories or transformational micro-level conceptualisations. Strategic concepts unique to Asia are not included in this section. For example, the contribution of Stan Shi in extending his strategic experimentation at his company ACER could have been of considerable interest in the handbook (Chien, Chih and Chu, 2005). Strategic concepts like ‘Flying Geese Theories’ of early Japanese corporations (Williamson 2005), or the global integration strategies of Chinese and Indian companies (Ghoshal, Pirimal & Budhiraja 2001; Chatterjee and Nankervis 2007) could have extended the scope and the horizon of this handbook. It is also disappointing not to see any research reference beyond 2004 when the book was actually in print in 2007.

The purpose of a ‘Handbook’ is to provide a definitive scholarly source and in that spirit, readers’ expectations are understandably deeper from a publication with such a title. It would be reasonable to expect some indication on the geographic, cultural and ideological scope of the term ‘Asia’ - is provided at the outset. It is unclear what the editors consider Asia to be as most of the chapters relate to South East Asia. There is no reasoning provided why no research from the Indian sub-continent was included in this volume. A ‘Handbook’ of Asian Business research at least needed to have provided some scholarly research notes on China’s emergence as a ‘factory of the world’ and India’s spectacular rise in the ‘services sector’ over the past decade. Besides these, some of the key areas of Asian business such as International Joint Ventures and Alliances in Asia, Human Resource Practices in Asian organisations, Communications and Negotiational Frames, Corporate Governance and Ethical Issues and many other critical areas are left unexplored. An area like Entrepreneurship in Asia should have been included as small and medium business in Asia has a unique cultural, social and economic significance (Khanna 2008).

In sum, the handbook is a welcome attempt to coalesce a number of important research themes being pursued in universities around the world. Undoubtedly the book expands the research opportunities for future doctoral students and new researchers in the field of Asian Business. The papers included are written with cogent conceptual models and robust empirical support. It is hoped that the future edition of the handbook will include more researcher’s working in universities in Japan, China, India and other Asian countries and will include challenging topics like corporate governance, corruption, and spirituality in business.

Samir Ranjan Chatterjee
Curtin University of Technology
Perth
Australia

References

Khanna, T. (2008). Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are reshaping their futures - and yours. Boston: HBS Press.

Chien, W., Chih, S. and Chu, P. Y. (2005). Business Growth Strategies for Asia Pacific, Singapore: John Wiley & Sons (Asia).

Williamson, P. (2005). Strategies for Asia’s New Competitive Game. The Journal of Business Strategy, 26(2), 37-42.

Ghoshal, S., Piramal, G., Budhiraja, S. (2001). World Class in India, New Delhi: Penguin Books.

Chatterjee, S. R. and Nankervis, A. (Eds.) (2007). Asian Management in Transition: Emerging Themes. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.