Chinese employer associations, institutional complementarity and countervailing power

Judith Shuqin Zhu, Chris Nyland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Prior to 2011 the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC) was the only employer association recognized by China's government. Drawing on interviews with staff from employer associations, employers and state officials, this study clarifies the role of Chinese employer associations, with the focus being on the CEC. The study finds that the Confederation is a quasi-state agency that undertakes many of the activities conducted by employer associations in developed economies. It also finds that the demise of the CEC's monopolization of employer representation can be attributed to its inability to act as an agent of countervailing power and its inability to sustain a complementary relationship with the social partners that are suited to the newly emergent employment relationship being constructed in China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-301
Number of pages18
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • China
  • communist party
  • countervailing power
  • employer associations
  • employers
  • industrial relations
  • institutional complementarity
  • political economy
  • state corporatism

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