Frontiers of Business Research in China

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From moral leadership to positive work behaviors: the mediating roles of value congruence and leader-member exchange
Yuanjie Bao, Chaoping Li
Front. Bus. Res. China    2019, 13 (1): 1-18.   https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1186/s11782-019-0052-3
Abstract   PDF (70162KB)

Limited empirical investigation has been devoted to understanding the multipleeffect mechanisms of moral leadership, especially the relationship between mediators. Drawing from both social learning and social exchange theories, this study examines whether value congruence and leader-member exchange (LMX) mediate the effect of moral leadership on followers’ positive work behaviors. Using two-wave survey data from 395 Chinese employees, the results indicate that both value congruence and LMX act as mediators in the relationship between moral leadership and positive work behaviors. Furthermore, a sequential mediation link from moral leadership to value congruence, then to LMX, and finally to positive work behaviors was established. Theoretical and practical implications are further discussed.

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Forty Years of Business Research in China: A Critical Reflection and Projection
Ji-Ye Mao
Front. Bus. Res. China    2018, 12 (4): 323-330.   https://doi.org/10.1186/s11782-018-0045-7
Abstract   PDF (32474KB)

Indigenous business research has largely mirrored the economic growth in China over the past 40 years, which has reached a critical juncture. It is, therefore, important to take stock of the past progress to identify critical success factors and remaining challenges, in searching for paths to the next leap forward. To this end, this commentary will first review the key milestones in indigenous business research over the past four decades. Then it will highlight two paradoxes, namely, the lack of indigenous theories despite the phenomenal growth of Chinese firms, and the growing divergence between scientific rigor and low relevance to practice, which will need to be addressed in the future. Lastly, several predications and suggestions will be offered.

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Foreign institutional investors and stock return comovement
Li Jiang, Jeong-Bon Kim, Lei Pang
Front. Bus. Res. China    2018, 12 (3): 203-233.   https://doi.org/10.1186/s11782-018-0036-8
Abstract   PDF (94315KB)

We investigate whether foreign institutional investors facilitate firm-specific information flow in the global market. Specifically, using annual institutional ownership data from firms across 40 countries, we find that foreign institutional ownership is negatively associated with excess stock return comovement. Our results are more pronounced when foreign institutional investors originate from common-law countries and hold a large equity stake in invested firms; and when the invested firms are located in civil-law countries. Overall, the evidence suggests that foreign institutional investors from countries with strong investor protection play an important informational role in mitigating excess stock return comovement around the world.

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The impact of reporting frequency on the information quality of share price: evidence from Chinese state-owned enterprises
Yin Toa Lee, Wilson H. S. Tong
Front. Bus. Res. China    2018, 12 (2): 83-100.   https://doi.org/10.1186/s11782-018-0031-0
Abstract   PDF (55773KB)

As a major global exchange, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) only requires semi-annual reporting whereas other major exchanges including the ones in Chinese mainland require quarterly reporting. We argue against the traditional view that higher reporting frequency is necessarily more beneficial. The decision on reporting frequency depends on how the information is being processed by the recipient traders and the results are not obvious. Using a sample of Chinese companies duallisted in both China A share market and SEHK (AH shares) as the experimental group and mainland’s companies listed on SEHK (H shares) only as the control group, we apply the difference-in-difference (DID) method to investigate the impacts of reporting frequency on stock information quality. The results suggest that after China A share market require quarterly financial reporting for all listed companies in 2002, the information asymmetry of the H tranche of AH stocks increases. Different from prior studies, the results suggest a negative association between stock information quality and financial reporting frequency. We argue that the increased information asymmetry in the H tranche is caused by the noise spilled over from the A tranche. We conduct multivariable GARCH tests and find evidence supporting this conjecture.

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Commentary of the Special Issue in Organization Behavior
Jason D. Shaw
Front. Bus. Res. China    2018, 12 (1): 1-2.   https://doi.org/10.1186/s11782-018-0029-7
Abstract   PDF (3629KB)

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Economic freedom and IPO underpricing
Yibiao Chen, Steven S. Wang, Wilson H. S. Tong, Hui Zhu
Front. Bus. Res. China    2017, 11 (4): 453-483.   https://doi.org/10.1186/s11782-017-0019-1
Abstract   PDF (1731KB)

This paper examines how the difference in institutional environments constitutes differential IPO underpricing across countries. Using the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom (IEF) as a proxy for the heterogeneous institutional environment, and a sample of 3728 IPOs from 22 countries and regions over the period 1993–2014, we find that countries with higher economic freedom have significantly less serious IPO underpricing problems. Moreover, we find that among the 10 economic freedom factors covered by theIEF, financial freedom related factors play a more important role in reducing the IPO underpricing problem. Finally, consistent with the market sentiment hypothesis, we find strong evidence that pre-IPO market sentiment influences IPO firstday returns, and that the IPO underpricing problem is less severe when the market is bearish.

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Can returnee managers promote CSR performance? Evidence from China
Wen Wen, Jianbo Song
Front. Bus. Res. China    2017, 11 (3): 309-340.   https://doi.org/10.1186/s11782-017-0012-8
Abstract   PDF (1056KB)

With growing economic globalization, returnee managers who have obtained education or work experience overseas play a much more crucial role in corporations, especially in emerging economies. Using hand‐collected managerial background data from a sample of firms listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges from 2010 to 2014, this paper investigates the impact of returnee managers on corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance. We find that returnee managers can promote CSR performance. Further analyses show that the impact of returnee managers on CSR is more pronounced when managers have a foreign study background compared to managers with foreign work experience. The impact only holds when managers obtained their experience in developed economies. When enterprises face greater information asymmetry, returnee managers are more willing to use CSR as a tool to convey a positive image to stakeholders. CSR can help managers reduce information asymmetry and improve firm value. The results are robust through a series of robustness checks including a propensity score matching (PSM) procedure and a Heckman two‐state sample selection model. This paper contributes to growing studies on the economic consequences of returnee managers and advances our understanding of the determinants of CSR at the individual level. The results also have implications for government and enterprises attracting talents with overseas experience.

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Methodological choices of HR research conducted in Asia
Karin Sanders, Julie A. Cogin, Cai-Hui Veronica Lin
Front. Bus. Res. China    2017, 11 (2): 167-185.   https://doi.org/10.1186/s11782-017-0011-9
Abstract   PDF (1108KB)

A twenty-year study of the Human Resource (HR) practices– outcome relationship has found that more rigorous methodologies have been adopted over time. However, several problematic features such as cross-sectional, single-informant, and single-level designs continue to be adopted (Bainbridge et al., Human Resource Management, 2016). Responding to calls for increased contextualization of research by investigating the relationship between the location of data collection and the methodological choices of researchers, this study answers the question “How unique are the methodological choices of HR research conducted in Asia?” Applying content analysis to 241 published articles, we compare internal, external, construct and statistical conclusion validity of studies collected in North America (n=66), Europe (n=95) and Asia (n=80, including 57 studies from China). Results show that despite similarities in cross-sectional, single-informant and single-level designs across regions, research conducted in Asia is mainly undertaken via field studies, using subjective outcome measures at the organizational level, following a post-predictive design. In addition, studies from Asia are more recent, and show a shorter time gap between data collection and publication. Theoretical and practical implications embedded in the dynamic context of Asia in general, and China more specifically are discussed.

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The Neglected State of Organizational-Level Turnover Studies in the Chinese Context: A Call for Research
Jason D. Shaw, Shuisheng Shi
Front. Bus. Res. China    2017, 11 (1): 1-14.   https://doi.org/10.1186/s11782-017-0001-y
Abstract   PDF (645KB)

In this essay, the authors discuss the neglected state of organizational-level turnover research in the Chinese context. They provide a brief overview of the importance of turnover research in the organizational sciences, highlight the role of performance-related turnover rates research, and outline general theories and findings that appear in the Western and English-language literature. This evidence is compared with a dearth of studies using samples of Chinese organizations and in Chinese-language journals. They conclude by calling for additional theory and empirical studies on turnover rates.

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The Business Cycle and Profitability of Trading Strategies
Yuxing Yan, Shaojun Zhang
Front. Bus. Res. China    2016, 10 (4): 525-547.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s070-005-016-0019-5
Abstract   PDF (492KB)

Recent studies show that investor participation in the stock market rises during economic expansion and drops in economic recession. When investor participation is high, investors’ cognitive and behavioral biases are likely to have a strong influence on stock prices. We consider four trading strategies that are based on well-known market anomalies and examine their profitability under different economic conditions. For all four strategies, the portfolios that are formed in the months when the economy is expanding obtain significant profits, whereas the portfolios formed in economic recession months are not profitable. This finding is robust to different ways of classifying recession months.

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