Technology Progress in the Chinese Construction Industry under the Iron-Fist of Government

Xiaobai Shen, Shisong Jiang, Limin gong, Christopher Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Government policies and actions in transitional economies have far-reaching consequences for technology progress. Many studies suggest the important role of governments in providing policies and finance to facilitate technology innovations. The Chinese government has often been seen to exemplify this. This article probes government actions in practice, the way it is conducted and the negative consequences for innovation. We focus on one of China’s most
important and successful sectors – construction. An analytical framework based on ‘complex systems industry’ is used and a causal map developed to examine the role of the Chinese government acting as client, regulator and administrator of industrial and professional bodies
and their impact on innovation in the construction sector. This paper confirms that innovation is
industry specific and social and economic context dependent. While recognising the powerful
role of the Chinese government, it argues that in reality the ‘Chinese government’ is not a
uniform entity, but rather consists of various entities acting in accordance with their varied
vested interests at a specific time and under particular circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-402
JournalTechnology Analysis and Strategic Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • technology progress; transition economies; China; construction industry; complex systems industry


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