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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Common Courses (Management School)

Postgraduate Course: Innovation in China (CMSE11544)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryChina is now home to the world's fastest development of innovations, particularly in the digital space, offering a rapidly changing array of internet and mobile technology-based services across a wide range of industries from e-commerce, fintech, music, literature and film creative culture to sharing economies and climate change. China's innovation has been transforming the country over the last decade. Once an economic backwater, later dismissed as copycats and now poised to challenge the world, China's rise has engendered great fears and hostile sentiments. These developments demand rigorous study, understanding and critical evaluation.

This course will require students to engage with a range of radical and disruptive innovations, including topics, such as WeChat, TikTok, Huawei, big data of peoples' footprints during the pandemic, social credit, digital currency, climate change, artificial intelligence, micromobility and the development of sharing economy platforms.

Students will be introduced to the complex and sometimes, contradictory features of Chinese society that underpin these developments: the seemingly competing value systems running through China's recent history in the transition from a traditional hierarchical society, the socialist legacy of central planning and the market system with Chinese characteristics. Students will explore the distinctive social-technical features of digital technology, such as connectivity, information flow and social media engendering mass participation, transparency and decentralised governance.
Course description This course will equip students with analytical frameworks to explore China's rise from an emerging economy to challenging for world leadership in innovation and to critically evaluate some controversial and disruptive innovative services that are arising under the dominant social norms and business models in the developed world. The course will centre around case study research and group discussion, which will encourage students to engage with various theoretical frameworks and different perspectives in these developments.
The objectives of the course are to encourage students to:
- Understand intertwined and dynamic relations between innovation and the social and technological contexts in which they emerge and in turn, become embedded and transform.
- Engage with various conceptual and analytical frameworks derived from a range of cognate disciplines, including business, political economy, philosophy, culture and social studies of technology.
- Develop an understanding of distinctive features of China's social structure and governance, cultural tradition and the ongoing transformation of the business environment
- Critically evaluate challenging issues/events/matters from diverse positions, and in particular, to engage with internal and external perceptions of developments in China.

1 - Introduction of conspicuous cases, for example, WeChat, TikTok, Huawei, during the US-China trade war and innovative business experimentation in the areas of fintech, mobility and renewable energy (it may change annually), and an overview of the current innovation and the traditional and institutional contexts in China.
2 - Introduction of multiple conceptual and analytical frameworks for understanding
3 - Case material will encompass various innovations, such as internet financial services to SMicroEs, mobile technology ecosystem from 3G to 5G, integrated online literature, music &film creative culture services, electric car and charging networks, bicycle-sharing schemes, etc. Case analyses will adopt conceptual and analytical frameworks, for example, to examine the social and technical elements underlying China's mobile apps for COVID 19 track tracing and the relationship between the innovation and the embedding cultural and social contexts in China, to explore different social-technical features of track-tracing technologies developed and employed in other countries across the world during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Student experience:
- To explore the Chinese business environment, being aided with available literature and information in varied media forms, to know the Chinese characteristics of the modern landscape of the society and the economy, which has built on the culture and social norms rooted in a long history.
- To recognise a value system different from students own and be familiar with the diversity of the world we are living in.
- To dialogue and exchange perspectives and views with peer students brought up in different cultures and educational backgrounds and to learn by self-awareness and reflection .
- To practise useful skills for researching, analysing, written presentation and team working.

Tutorial/seminar hours represent the minimum total live hours - online or in-person - a student can expect to receive on this course. These hours may be delivered in tutorial/seminar, lecture, workshop or other interactive whole class or small group format. These live hours may be supplemented by pre-recorded lecture material for students to engage with asynchronously.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a general knowledge of the distinctive social-technical features of digital technology, and have an overview of China's innovation paradigm and the specific business landscape resulting from the social and technological transformation
  2. Understand the intertwined and dynamic relations between innovation and its embedding social and technical contexts ¿ encompassing how the context shapes innovation and uptake and may, in turn, be transformed by widespread use of new digital services
  3. Explore appropriate conceptual and analytical frameworks and develop and apply an interdisciplinary approach to the discovery of new emerging and rapidly changing phenomena in the digital business realm
  4. Demonstrate the ability of independent thinking and to contribute to collective learning and group performance
Reading List
Shen, X. and Williams, R. (2005). A Critique of China's Utilitarian View of Science and Technology. Science Technology & Society, 10(2) pp. 197-223.

Mahbubani, Kishore (2020) The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy ¿ Has China won? New York: Public Affairs.

Baldwin, C. Y. and von Hippel, E. (2011) "Modeling a paradigm shift: from producer innovation to user and open collaborative innovation"; in Organization Science; 22 (6), pp. 1399-1417

Fagerberg, J., Mowery, D.C. & Nelson, R.R., 2005. The Oxford handbook of innovation, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hyysalo, S., Pollock, N., & Williams, R. A. (2019) "Method matters in the social study of technology: Investigating the biographies of artefacts and practices"; in Science & Technology Studies, 32(3), pp. 2-25

Kshetri, N. (2016) "Big data's role in expanding access to financial services in China"; in International journal of information management; 36(3); pp. 297-308.

Shen, X., Williams, R., Zheng, S., Liu, Y., Li, Y., and Gerst, M. (2019) "Digital online music in China¿A "laboratory" for business experiment", in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 139(C); pp. 235-249

Latour, B. (1991) "Technology is society made durable"; in J. Law (ed.); A Sociology of Monsters: Essays on Power, Technology and Domination, London: Routledge; pp. 103¿131

Latour, B. (1996) "On actor-network theory: A few clarifications"; in Soziale welt; pp. 369-381

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of contemporary organisational disciplines; comprehend the role of business within the contemporary world; and critically evaluate and synthesise primary and secondary research and sources of evidence in order to make, and present, well informed and transparent organisation-related decisions, which have a positive global impact.

Identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied business and management problems, and develop approaches, informed by an understanding of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative techniques, to explore and solve them responsibly.

Cognitive Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Be self-motivated; curious; show initiative; set, achieve and surpass goals; as well as demonstrating adaptability, capable of handling complexity and ambiguity, with a willingness to learn; as well as being able to demonstrate the use digital and other tools to carry out tasks effectively, productively, and with attention to quality.

Communication, ICT, and Numeracy Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Critically evaluate and present digital and other sources, research methods, data and information; discern their limitations, accuracy, validity, reliability and suitability; and apply responsibly in a wide variety of organisational contexts.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Xiaobai Shen
Tel: (0131 6)50 3819
Course secretaryMrs Fionna Grant
Tel: (0131 6)51 3028
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