Zhu, J., & Delbridge, R. (2021). The management of second-generation migrant workers in China: A case study of centrifugal paternalism. Human Relations, 00187267211032948.

How have organisations sought to manage tensions between the needs forflexible labour in neoliberal market economies and the benefits of acommitted and motivated workforce? Through an in-depth, qualitative study ofa Chinese company, we identify and theorise a novel variation of paternalismthat was developed by the organisation to manage the tensions underneoliberal capitalism. We label this management regime ‘centrifugalpaternalism’ since it organises employment relations along the lines of‘adult-like’ employers and ‘child-like’ employees but involves the diminutionof employee dependency over time with an ultimate impulse away from theemploying organisation. We find that the emergence of centrifugal paternalismis closely related both to the socio-demographic identity of the company’semployees as China’s second-generation migrant workers and to the economiccontext of the organisation. Through a ‘tough love’ approach, this regimeallows the firm to secure flexible labour while responding to migrantworkers’ needs for personal skills development and a fruitful rural-to-urbantransition. Our research responds to recent calls for reconnectingorganisation studies with society and situating workplace practices withintheir contexts. It also underlines the enduring importance of paternalism forunderstanding the dynamic and evolving nature of capitalist employmentrelations and management regimes. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]AB- Copyright of Human Relations is the property of Sage Publications Inc.and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to alistserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However,users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. Thisabstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of thecopy. Users should refer to the original published version of the materialfor the full abstract.