Doug Guthrie has spent his career researching, writing, teaching and advising companies about two topics: organizational development, where he has focused on issues of leadership, organizational culture and corporate social responsibility; and the Chinese economic reforms, where he has focused on the intersection of economic and political forces that lead to successful economic development models. Currently, he is Professor of Global Leadership and Director of China Initiatives at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. From 2014-19, Guthrie was a Senior Director at Apple, based in Shanghai China, where he led Apple University efforts on leadership and organizational development in China. Prior to joining Apple, from 2010-14, Guthrie was Dean of the George Washington School of Business, Vice President for University China Operations, and Professor of International Business. Prior to GW, from 1997-2010, Guthrie held faculty positions at NYU’s Stern School of Business, where he was Professor of Management and Director of custom Executive Education, and NYU’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, where he was Professor of Sociology and the Founding Director of the University’s Office of Global Education. He has held visiting Professorships at several business schools, including Kellogg, Harvard, INSEAD, Stanford, Columbia and Emory. He served as Director of the Business Institutions Initiative at the Social Science Research Council (1999-2003) and was Academic Director of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership (2008-11). His research has been recognized by numerous grants and awards. Guthrie received an AB in East Asian Languages (Chinese literature) from the University of Chicago and MA & Ph.D. degrees in organizational sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Guthrie studied in Taipei, Taiwan, during his undergraduate years and conducted PhD research in Shanghai, China. He has authored and edited numerous books, academic articles, popular articles, and reports on Chinese economic reform, leadership and corporate social responsibility, and economic development in American cities.
What can we glean from the China experience in terms of what recovery could look like? To explore this, Doug Guthrie, head of China initiatives at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, joins the conversation.
It was interesting to hear Galloway’s take on China because it reflects my own conclusions about doing business in China in the era of Xi Jinping.
“In the initial stages everybody was slow on this, including China,” said Doug Guthrie, director of China Initiatives for Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management. “China missed it for about three weeks and there was some suppression of information. Despite the missteps in the early stages, the government has been unbelievably adept in the last four weeks' response to this. If you just look at the numbers as they’ve peaked and gone back down it’s a really, really powerful story about how effective the government has been in dealing with these issues.”
"Now that’s a really powerful thing because that actually means that building, rebuilding manufacturing in America is not just about cheap labor and opening the borders, it’s also about rebuilding vocational education," he said.
“When we talk about Alibaba and Tencent of the world, and people, of course, know those stories of what's happening with TikTok. These are not just stories that are about some high-tech companies that have grown big and been powerful. These are high tech companies that have really helped the Chinese government with the fourth industrial revolution around things like AI and high-tech development and ultimately, the sort of dividing of the world”.
“People aren't going anywhere; people are not leaving their houses and they are just staying where they are. And China may have been slow on the uptake of reporting what was going on and they may have had a lot of decentralized governments including officials in hand, who just didn't actually let people know what was happening but once they realized what was happening, they would quit.”
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