Living at Work: Management Control and the Dormitory Labour System in China

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The paper is based on a review of the literature on the use of dormitory labour, in the past and currently within parts of China, especially the Southern Pearl River Delta. It compares the provision of dormitories by firms with provision of housing under paternalist management practices. It explores the benefits that flow from having labour available ‘on tap’, as against the potential disadvantages of having short tenure circulating labour as firms aim to move up the value chain which may require the retention of skilled labour with the firm for longer periods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-358
Number of pages25
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • dormitories, housing, paternalism, Chinese workers, labour process

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