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Title: Strategic choice and the China dimension : an empirical analysis of the Hong Kong watch industry
Authors: Ma, Suk-ling Catherine
Degree: M.Phil.
Issue Date: 2001
Abstract: This study examines the strategic choices made by firms in the Hong Kong watch manufacturing industry. It pays particular attention to two issues. The first concerns the extent to which the adoption of 'up-grading' strategies yields superior performance when compared with the more traditional strategies associated with Hong Kong firms. The second concerns the relationship between the characteristics which define the Chinese Family Business and the strategies firms adopt. The thesis may be divided into three sections. The first section is concerned with the setting for the study. Chapter 1 outlines four broad aims and locates the work within the literature on business strategy and performance. A conceptual framework is identified to guide the work. Chapter 2 first examines the history of Hong Kong's manufacturing sector, paying particular attention to the pressures under which it developed, the impact of those pressures on the nature of the industries which emerged, and their stereotypical ways of doing business. The Chapter then goes on to outline the debate which has taken place over the perceived need for Hong Kong firms to adopt 'up-grading' strategies. Three research questions are identified, namely: does the adoption of 'up-grading' strategies lead to higher performance?; do Hong Kong manufacturing firms conform to the stereotype of the Chinese Family Business (CFB)?; are there significant relationships between the characteristics which define the (CFB) and key dimensions of business strategy?. Chapter 3 places the study in the specific setting of the Hong Kong watch manufacturing industry. It explains why that industry is an appropriate context in which to answer the research questions and then goes on to examine its history, its overall performance in international trade and its place in the broader debate over business strategies in Hong Kong. The second section of the thesis contains three chapters which address the first two research questions, concerning the nature of the business strategies adopted by Hong Kong firms and the relationship between 'up-grading' strategies and performance. Chapter 4 identifies a set of variables representing strategy and performance and explains how questionnaire items were generated in order to measure those constructs. Chapter 5 reports on the survey carried out, the characteristics of the sample and the measurement properties of the constructs. Having shown that the strategy and performance constructs are properly measured, Chapter 6 addresses the first research question. Both 'comparative' and 'configurational' methodologies are adopted in order to test for links between 'up-grading' strategies and superior performance. Some slight support is found for the 'up-grading' prescription in that some of the strategy dimensions are significantly positively associated with one dimension of performance. However, the overall results cast doubt on the validity of the 'up-grading' prescription. The next section of the thesis addresses the second and third research questions, concerning the relationship between strategic choice and the nature of the Chinese Family Business. It also introduces the mainland China dimension by extending the set of strategy constructs to include variables representing the extent to which Hong Kong firms use China as a source of resources and as a potential market. Chapter 7 elucidates the concept of the Chinese Family Business (CFB) and reports on the measurement properties of the variables included. It then goes on to examine the extent to which Hong Kong watchmaking firms conform to the stereotype of the CFB and relationships amongst the strategy variables and the CFB variables. This is carried out in two ways. First, simple correlations are examined amongst the latent variables and factor-based scales representing strategy and the CFB characteristics. Then a second-order factor model is hypothesized in which "CFB-ness" is a broad second-level construct determining a set of first-order factors, having positive relationships with those representing CFB characteristics and with strategy variables representing the traditional Hong Kong approach to competition but negative relationships with strategy variables representing 'up-grading' strategies. The results are mixed but provide overall support for the proposition that the nature of the Chinese Family Business is supportive of 'traditional' strategies and inhibitive of 'up-grading'.
Subjects: Clock and watch making -- China -- Hong Kong
Strategic planning -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: 183, [9] leaves ; 30 cm
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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