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Yanyi Wang

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Professor Patrick Gunnigle & Dr. Jonathan Lavelle
Working Title of Thesis: 
An Analysis of the Factors Influencing Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland with Particular Focus on Labour/Human Resource Considerations

In addition to consolidating its status as a major recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI), China has also emerged as a significant source of outward FDI (OFDI), suggesting the significance of academic enquiry on Chinese OFDI. While extant literature on patterns of and motives for OFDI by Chinese multinational companies (MNCs) has largely focused on evidence from either emerging economies (e.g. in Asia and Africa) or large developed economies (e.g. USA, Canada, Australia, Germany and the UK) (cf. Buckley et al 2008), some smaller developed countries have emerged as important host countries for FDI such as Ireland, Denmark and Sweden (cf. Edquist and Hommen 2008). The Irish case is particularly noteworthy given its track record in consistently attracting high levels of inward FDI for the best part of for fifty years (Barry 2007). However, deeper analysis reveals that the great bulk of FDI in Ireland originates from the USA and remarkably little FDI from Asia in general, or China in particular.
In fact, while we find high levels of Chinese OFDI globally there is demonstrably very limited penetration in one of the world’s most globalised countries (Ireland). Therefore, in this research, we investigate this conundrum by analysing Chinese MNCs/OFDI into Ireland, with a particular focus on labour and human resource management issues. So far, three specific research objectives have been identified:

  • To profile the population of Chinese MNCs investing in Ireland
  • To identify and investigate the factors encouraging and discouraging Chinese MNCs to invest in Ireland
  • To explore the impact of labour and HRM considerations on the  decision of Chinese MNCs to locate  in Ireland

For the first research objective, we analysed a wide range of sources including primary and secondary data, such as IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the Chinese Embassy in Ireland, related commercial chambers and associations, and some popular media (e.g. the Irish Times archive). For the second objective, we primarily adopt a method of semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders (e.g. policy makers/other expert informants) and personnel employed in relevant Chinese MNCs, mainly interviewing CEOs/deputy CEOs, HR directors/managers and other senior managers therein. All interviews were/will be recorded for accuracy and transparency, transcribed verbatim and coded and analysed using Nivivo 10.
This is the first academic study that seeks to profile and investigate Chinese MNEs in Ireland, with the potential to offer both theoretical and practical contributions. Theoretically the research adds to the growing body of literature that focuses on institutional, cultural and resource-based perspectives in explaining Chinese OFDI (c.f. Cooke and Lin 2012). In particular it will address the influence of labour and HRM considerations on the decision of Chinese MNCs to locate their FDI projects. Practically, this study will provide valuable information and implications for both Irish and Chinese policy makers and institutional actors in terms of developing appropriate ‘pull’ and ‘push’ incentives or strategies for Chinese MNCs to invest in Ireland or in Europe more generally.

Publications/presentations to date: 

Presentation in the Doctoral Colloquium of the International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management 2012
Presentation in the Doctoral Colloquium of the 17th Annual Irish Academy of Management Conference 2014

Factors of Chinese Outward Foreign Direct Investment, Chinese Multination Enterprises, impact of labour & human resource management, Ireland’s attraction of Chinese Outward Foreign Direct Investment, HRM within Chinese MNEs
Details of any scholarships/funding received: 
Department of Personnel & Employment Relations Research Funding
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