Purpose – Private philanthropy in China is an emerging element of civil society. This paper seeks to examine the role of productivity improvement in a private charity in the context of the relative roles of charities and private business in building a harmonious society. In addition, the paper aims to examine the philosophy of Capital Spirit proposed by Dr Lu Dezhi, founder of the Huamin Charity Foundation, as the basis for a Chinese model of private philanthropy. Design/methodology/approach – This case study is based on an interview with Dr Lu Dezhi conducted in Beijing by the first author. The article is descriptive, but it also contains analysis of the approach described by Dr Lu in light of the World Confederation of Productivity Science model of SEE‐Productivity and previous history of efforts to shift management paradigms, e.g. quality management, etc. Findings – Dr Lu provides a rational, systematic and philosophically grounded approach to creating and operating a private philanthropy in China. This model incorporates many of the key aspects of productivity science, including values‐based strategy, data‐based decision making, analysis and evaluation and continuous improvement. In a larger sense, Dr Lu outlines a philosophy that has the potential to shift the management paradigms of Chinese organizations to more sustainable practices. Originality/value – The focus on productivity improvement in private philanthropy is a topic that is rarely discussed in the management literature. In addition, the approach taken to philanthropy by Dr Lu Dezhi and his philosophy of Capital Spirit as the basis for a “Chinese model” of philanthropy is unique. Finally, the discussion regarding the appropriate role of private sector businesses in an economy based on its stage of development is a unique contribution to the management literature. Contrasting this Chinese model with Western models provides a useful cultural contrast to examine this key question.
International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 15, 2012
Keywords: Best practice; Case studies; Values; Productivity; Strategy; Third sector; China; Philanthropy; Private companies