Dr Robert Taylor

BA, MSc, PhD (London), MBA (Warwick)

taylor photo

Email: r.i.d.taylor@sheffield.ac.uk

Current Research Projects

Throughout my academic career my research interests have been in the study of the governance and foreign policy of contemporary China. To date this has encompassed three main themes: the development of specialist manpower, China's relations with the industrial powers of Western Europe and Japan, and the conduct of business management in the Chinese states.

Firstly, my early research was funded by a grant enabling me to conduct personal interviews of Chinese officials and collate written data in East Asia in 1970 and 1971, the findings being published in my first two books. These were studies of Chinese education within the wider context of manpower deployment, given the functionally specific needs of China's planned economy.

Secondly, the initiation of an open door policy in China in 1978 provided new research opportunities both in terms of source material relating to foreign investment and accessibility of official data. Accordingly, I have been able to combine economic concerns with a foreign policy focus, and I published book length studies of Sino-Japanese and Sino-European relations in 1985 and 1990.

Thirdly, domestic economic reform facilitated the development of my interest in the impact of foreign trade and investment on Chinese business management. Within this context special foci have been the conduct of business enterprise and entrepreneurship in the Chinese states together with investment relations between China, other Asian countries and the European Union. A recent focus of my research has been the impact of foreign venture activity on the reform of China's state enterprises and the consequent development of nationally directed social insurance and welfare policies. These concerns were redeveloped in my study of Greater China and Japan, published by Routledge in 1996.

In view of the globalisation of business and the international influence of the Asian recession, a successful grant application to a Korean foundation has facilitated the extension of my research into the field of human resource management and industrial relations through fieldwork in China in September 1998. Within the general context of globalization, my recent publications have included studies of China's outward investment and reform of the domestic distribution system.

Currently I am projecting my future research in the light of China's ongoing socio-economic reforms. The impact of foreign trade and investment on enterprise reform will be assessed within the context of recent Chinese labour legislation. Thus such earlier themes of my research as education, manpower deployment, foreign economic relations and business management, will be given new dimensions within China's evolving social and economic milieux. Financial support is to be sought from the ESRC.

Teaching Philosophy

I have always regarded bachelors’ degrees in the arts and social sciences as a general education in the humanities, the traditional view which sought to encourage mental discipline in preparation for leadership in employment after graduation. In teaching and organising Chinese Studies I have not insisted on any division between the various elements taught at SEAS, thus casting myself as a sinologist rather than a specialist in, for example, China’s business management or foreign policy. In tandem with in-house teaching, I have been involved in supervising modules on the SEAS Distance Learning Programme,, where candidates have been directly involved as practitioners in East Asia. This has provided insights of value not only to teachers but in-house students. While not offering vocational training or acting as a service industry, I have believed it important that Chinese Studies should emphasise a practical orientation, introducing students to issues they may face in employment after graduation.

Research Supervision

Robert Taylor welcomes applications to undertake theses in the following areas: Chinese foreign policy, Chinese Business Management, Chinese Government, FDI in China.

PhDs supervised

S Pan, "Asia Pacific Co-operation and Regionalism in the World of Globalisation and Regionalisation" (PhD Degree awarded, 1998)

Y J Wang, "Sino-Japanese Joint Ventures" (PhD Degree awarded, 1995)

L K Hsiao, "Taiwan's Foreign Policy in the 1990s: The Pre-Theory Approach" (PhD Degree awarded, 1999)

W Zhang, "China's Sustainable Development" (PhD Degree awarded, 2000)

S H Kong, "Explaining Organizational Culture in Mainland China through Selected Firms in Guangdong Province" (PhD Degree awarded, 2000)

List of Major Publications


Greater China and Japan (London, Routledge, 1996).

China, Japan and the European Community (London, Athlone, 1990).

The Sino-Japanese Axis (London, Athlone, 1985)

China's Intellectual Dilemma (Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press, 1981)

Education and University Enrolment Policies in China, 1949-1971 (Canberra, Australian National University Press, 1973).

Book Chapters

'China's Emerging Markets: Investment Strategies of Taiwan's Companies', pp. 131-50 in S Dzever and J Jaussard (ed), China and India: Economic Performance and Business Strategies of Firms in the Mid-1990s (London, Macmillan Press Limited, 1999)

'Chinese Macroeconomic Reforms and the Japanese Model: Implications for Japanese Companies', pp. 157-71 in S Dzever and J Jaussard (ed), Perspectives on Economic Integration and Business Strategy in the Asia - Pacific Region (London, Macmillan Press Limited, 1997)

Journal Articles

 Chinese Labour Legislation: Implications for Competitiveness, Asia –Pacific Business Review, (2011) 4:493-510.

 China’s Developing Infrastructure: the Impact of Globalisation, Transition Studies Review, (2010) 17:668-685.

'China's Consumer Revolution: Distribution Reform, Foreign Investment and the Impact of the WTO, Asian Business and Management, 2,2 (2003): 187-204.

'Globalisation Strategies of Chinese Companies: Current Developments and Future Prospects, Asian Business and Management, 1, 2 (2002): 209-225.

'Japan's Role in China's Economic Transformation since 1978', Journal of Far Eastern Business 1, 2 (1995): 13-33.

'The New Chinese Consumer: Potential Markets for Foreign Companies', Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, 6, 2 (1995): 101-112.

'The Emergence of a Consumer Market in China', Asia-Pacific Business Review, 2, 1 (1995): 37-49.

'China's Policy towards the Asia-Pacific', Journal of the Royal Society of Asian Affairs, XXV, Part III (1994): 259-69.

'Sino-Japanese Trading Relations: Contemporary Perspectives', Stirling Occasional Papers, No 3 (1992).

'The EEC and China : Long Term Prospects of Trade and Investment', Euro-Asia Business Review, 2, 4 (1983): 6-10.

'Sino-Japanese Relations', Perspectives on Japan, 4 (1982): 9-13.

'Political Change and Development Strategy in China: Problems and Prospects', New Zealand International Review, II (1979): 27-29.

'China's Economic Strategy and Foreign Policy in the Post-Mao Era', New Zealand International Review, II (1977): 27-29.