Who are 'managing' the lawyers in China? Control and commitment in an evolving institutional and cultural context and gendered implications

Fang Lee Cooke, Zhaohong Lin, Yumei Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


National legal systems are distinctive with strong institutional legacies and societal contexts. Research on the lawyers work and their operating environment in China has been limited. This study fills part of this gap by investigating the nature of work and career prospect, with gendered implications, in six Chinese law firms. We argue that the lack of commitment to each other between the employer and the lawyers is a result of the governance structure, culture and business process of the law firms, societal norms, market pressure and the active involvement of other stakeholders. The political, economic, social and physical insecurity that engulfs lawyers work environment undermines their ability to uphold justice for the weak, standards of the profession and ethical values of the society. The study has implications for western law firms operating in China as well as for Chinese law firms that intend to internationalize as part of an emerging trend of Chinese professional services firms. It also has broader implications for human resource management of professional services organizations in China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3418 - 3437
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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