Author: Fen Dai

Research Article

Year: 2021, Volume 21 Number 3

Pages: 86 – 101


Based on years of ethnographic research about compliance management practice in China’s pharmaceutical industry, this article examines the reaction of Western transnational companies and Chinese workers to recent changes of managerial control in the socialist workplace. Although academic research on China’s labor studies has fully explored the areas, such as traditional manufacturing, little is known about the new changes of management-labor practices in China’s pharmaceutical market. Following the labor process theory, this article argues that compliance management sounds neat and modern in the context of China, but in practice, the management and workers have “hypocritical” and “paradoxical” reactions to it. Although the transnational pharmaceutical companies attempt to discipline Sales Representatives to work within China’s policies and regulations around pharmaceutical marketing, the management also flexibly permits Sales Representatives to engage in informal practices to earn profits. Meanwhile, Sales Representatives have developed a new kind of subjectivity that compels them to “consent” to this new managerial control. 

Keywords: compliance management, transnational pharmaceutical company, labor management and control, Sales Representatives, China