Someone is going to rain on your parade - if you let them

Someone is analysing your every move

Someone is going to rain on your parade

Someone is analysing your every move

Someone is going to rain on your parade – if you let them and Why your organisation is likely to lose out to a Chinese one…

This morning I reviewed a paper for our members that has just been published by a Chinese academic. Now obviously that in and of itself isn’t much to write about. Of the 78,000 peer reviewed research papers currently published every month around the world a growing number are from Chinese universities and researchers. However there was something rather different about his paper.

The paper is titled “A Comparison of Organizations’ Human Resource Management Modes in Different Cultures” again this doesn’t particularly stand out from the thousands of papers published this month about Human Resources. The first thing however that intrigued me was that the paper was being published in an engineering journal, by engineers.


Then when I started to read a translation of the paper something less prosaic and mundane came through from this study of HR practices in different cultures by engineers.

something less prosaic and mundane came through from this study…



You and your company is being watched


It turns out the Chinese government has tasked it’s academics and the might of it’s research sector to systematically study western success, find the factors which have led to that success and recommend ways that the Chinese can use what they find to gain the competitive advantage in every sector. What is more, they are using different sectors to examine our culture, our organisations and business, so rather than just have HR experts study HR for example, they are getting engineers and IT specialists (as well as whole range of other specialisms) to systematically examine and deconstruct HR to see how they can engineer an advantage, as well as every other aspect of our lives, innovations, business capability and more. They are trying to systematically engineer economic and business domination using research evidence.


In essence China is systematically researching and examining every aspect of business, service and society to try to develop a global competitive advantage. This mass use of research data to gain a competitive advantage through evidence-based practice is something a few western organisations do, but nowhere near enough.

China is systematically researching and examining every aspect of business, service and society to try to develop a global competitive advantage

The challenge every western organisation and service faces is that if you aren’t using research evidence to develop better capability and a competitive advantage China or another competitor will soon be biting at your heals. The more space you put between them and you now, the better.


Xiamen University, China

Don’t panic!

This is not the time for knee-jerk reactions, restrictive practices and keeping things close to your chest. The normal reaction to threat is one of the three fear responses:

  1. Flight behaviour – including psychological flight behaviours like avoidance behaviour, ignoring or denying the significance of the situation
  2. Freezing – either doing nothing or keep doing the things that appear familiar and comforting that aren’t responding to the change
  3. Fight behaviours – aggressive responses, internal fighting / squabbling, destructive stress behaviours and the like.

It’s time for leading change



Rather this is time to become hyper-innovative. The more space you put between any competitor and your organisation the better. Moving targets are always harder to hit. By the time someone has caught up you have moved on and out.


Stop following – start leading

Your job now is to lead and create change.

Experiment, read the latest research, ask awkward questions, take risks, make mistakes and learn.

Start by asking questions, for example:

  • How are we developing our capability?
  • Is our culture supportive of rapid experimentation and change?
  • How are we dealing with mistakes and failure?
  • What research evidence and innovations are we tapping into and using?
  • How systematic are our learning and innovation processes?


Read the latest research

Stop looking to other organisations for the latest thing. Look at the very latest research as there is a lot, and I mean a lot of really useful cutting edge research published every month that can easily put you ahead and give you an incredible advantage very quickly.

Experiment, read the latest research, ask awkward questions, take risks, make mistakes and learn.

For example every week The Oxford Review brings you the very latest jargon free practical research briefings, video research briefings, infographics, tools and more that are quick and easy to understand in the areas of:

  • Leadership,
  • Management,
  • Human Resources,
  • Organisational Development,
  • Learning and Talent Development and
  • Coaching.

Get ahead, stay ahead – Get the Oxford Review

The 7 forms of organisational learning and why getting leaders onboard is important


Disclaimer: This is a research review, expert interpretation and briefing. As such it contains other studies, expert comment and practitioner advice. It is not a copy of the original study – which is referenced. The original study should be consulted and referenced in all cases. This research briefing is for informational and educational purposes only. We do not accept any liability for the use to which this review and briefing is put or for it or the research accuracy, reliability or validity. This briefing as an original work in its own right and is copyright © Oxford Review Enterprises Ltd 2016-2019. Any use made of this briefing is entirely at your own risk.

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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page

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