People-oriented Leadership Practices Benefit Businesses

Title of Case Study: Enhancing individual, team, and organisational effectiveness through people-oriented leadership


Lingnan University’s Business Unit has conducted extensive research into people-oriented leadership practices, and has established methods to increase the effectiveness of these leadership practices based on a new understanding of the underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions. Through a process of sustained engagement and consultancy with a range of companies, the unit has translated its research findings into practical solutions which enable companies to transform their management philosophy and practices, and therefore achieve greater competitiveness.


A range of businesses, including SMEs and large listed state companies, have experienced a positive impact after applying the University’s research. The research was used to improve leadership practices and HR policy decisions via a research-informed consultancy, training workshops, and practitioner-oriented reports. Companies changed their management philosophy and practices, and improved their management training and development, after consultation with Lingnan’s researchers, and reported positive results.


Enhancing sustainable development


One successful application of the University’s research took place at a listed state-owned company active in dairy manufacturing and retail. The company needed to improve the effectiveness of its leadership to ensure sustainable development. Researchers worked with the company to increase top management’s awareness of people-oriented leadership, and to inform HR policy decisions and managerial practice regarding recruitment, leadership training, and promotion and career development.


Redesigning managerial policies


As a result, the company’s HR department redesigned managerial policies to incorporate a people-oriented leadership concept. During the researchers’ three-year engagement, which took the form of an ongoing research-informed consultancy service, the company observed an increase in employee satisfaction and decreased staff turnover. Sales growth has been partly attributed to the University’s research.


The Business Unit’s research was also used to aid hi-tech start-ups in the Pearl River Delta. The University’s research helped the companies improve their internal hierarchies, knowledge sharing and integration, communication and coordination, and product innovation. The improvements guided by Lingnan’s research increased their capability to address external threats, and therefore improved their chances of survival.


Transforming organisations


Lingnan’s research demonstrates that people-oriented leadership practices can be applied to organisations in Chinese societies, despite the command-and-control leadership traditions of these organisations. The research shows how to increase the effectiveness of people-oriented leadership practices based on a new understanding of the underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions. The research findings provide a foundation for helping organisations transform their management philosophy and practices to become more competitive.