This is a dissertation project designed to study the job satisfaction condition in the sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited. Apart from that, the work motivation condition in the company will also be investigated. After both the job satisfaction and the work motivation situation in the company are investigated, the relationships of work motivation and job satisfaction in the particular department under researched will be investigated as well. In this chapter, the necessary background knowledge and information useful for the presentation and analysis of the materials in the subsequent chapters in this dissertation will be presented. The structure of this chapter is arranged as follow. Firstly, the research background on the needs of effective people management is discussed. Then, the company information of Anta Sports Products Limited will be provided. Next, research objectives as well as research questions to be answered in this dissertation will also be outlined and presented.
Today, the business environment is becoming more dynamic, consistent with the increasingly globalized and competitive business landscape. It is increasingly harder for a company to beat the competition over the long terms, as the changes of business environment as well as the other forces in the context of social economics are demanding businesses to be responsive, flexible and dynamic to stay relevant in the industry, not to mention to attain sustainable long term competitive advantage and above average profitability in the marketplace. In such a competitive business landscape, both scholars and practitioners are increasingly arguing that the key towards business successes in such an environment is trough effective people management. This is not hard to understand. Ultimately, it is people that contribute to the success of any company, as the workforce is the one that deliver the value proposition, adapting to changes in the business environment, to innovate and to beat the competition in any increasing globalized and fast changing economy atmosphere.
It is understood that the importance of people management is undeniable. The field of people management is so important that it is indeed a complicated and vast field of study in the context of business management. For example, the subjects related to people management that are widely taught in business school include human resources management, organization behaviors, change management, organizational development, leadership, organizational theory and system and many others. Nonetheless, commonly discussed issues under these subjects will often include the subject of workforce motivation and employee satisfaction. This is not surprising, because as human beings, the issue of motivation and happiness (i.e., satisfaction) are of paramount important in directing their behaviors, attitudes and actions, which all have serious and direct impacts against their performance and ultimately, the company performance.
There are many studies being carried out in the subject of workforce motivation and employee satisfaction. Researchers acknowledged that such issues are highly important in investigating the degree of effectiveness in terms of people management in any company or organization. However, such kind of research is relatively less in investigating the workforce related issues in companies in China. That is particularly true for those companies operated by traditional local Chinese management in China. This is somewhat surprising because as the Chinese economy grow fast, the management of the Chinese companies intuitively recognize that they need to adapt and change accordingly to remain relevant and competitive in the globalized economy, but yet, little studies are performed to investigate the fundamental and critical issues of workforce motivation and employee satisfaction in the many locally managed corporations in China. Thus, there is little information that can be obtained if the workforce working in these Chinese companies is truly motivated and satisfied. There is knowledge gap in this area. Besides, the issues of workforce motivation and employee satisfaction are crucial and impactful against the ability of the locally managed Chinese companies to attain competitive advantages, when compete against those more powerful multinational companies from various parts of the world.
As such, in this dissertation, one of the Chinese companies, namely, Anta Sports Products Limited is selected, to investigate the workforce motivation and employee satisfaction issues in the company. The company is selected because it is shown that the company able to deliver a pretty consistent growth rate and financial performance since its listing in Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Secondly, the company is indeed facing fierce competition from more powerful and reputable sports equipment and apparel companies from the west, such as Nike, Adidas, Puma, and Reebok.
Anta Sports Products Limited is the famous sport equipment and apparel company listed in Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and the company website can be found at http://www.anta.com.cn/en/home.php. As the author has relatives and friends working in one of the department in the company, it offers the author a chance to conduct study on the people management issues in the corporation. As the time of this writing, ANTA is a high performing company. The various financial performances can be witnessed from calculation of financial ratios on Table 1.1 below.
There are many reasons on which a study on workforce motivation and employee satisfaction in Anta Sports Products Limited is necessary. Firstly, as mentioned before, there are relatively few studies on the subject matter in locally managed Chinese companies. Little information and knowledge is available if the workforce are happy and motivated in working in the locally managed Chinese company. A research on the employees’ condition is relevant particularly at the time of this dissertation, because these Chinese companies are facing great competition from other well-established, more powerful and reputable multinational companies from more advanced countries such as the United States and Japan. As such, a study on the workforce condition in these Chinese companies is rational and timely. Secondly, as the author has personal network and relationship with workforce and management in Anta Sports Products Limited, the primary data required from the study can be easily obtained. Thus, this will enable the research process to be conducted in a smooth manner, as primary data can be obtained by seeking help from the management. Thirdly, there is no such kind of research being conducted in the targeted department to be researched in Anta Sports Products Limited. Apparently, the management does not think that such study is necessary, perhaps they are too busy involved in daily project execution and implementation assigned by the senior management. Nonetheless, intuitively, the management understands the importance of workforce attitudes and conditions in the company. The management is of the opinion that such study will enhance their understanding on the workforce condition working in the sports equipment and apparels design department. It is perceived that such study may be able to add value to the management process, should any critical information can be ferreted from the study. Lastly, such a study can be used as prototype for further research in other Chinese owned and managed companies. This study can be duplicated for a research of larger scale in other companies in China. Not only is that, if such study is proven valuable, a study on other dimensions of human resources management in Anta Sports Products Limited can be conducted.
As mentioned above, the research proposal aims to study the job satisfaction condition in the sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited. Apart from that, the work motivation condition in the company will also be investigated. After both the job satisfaction and the work motivation situation in the company are investigated, the relationships of work motivation and job satisfaction in the particular department under researched will be investigated as well. To be more specific, both the research objectives and research questions are outlined in bullet points as follow.
There are three research objectives:
- To study the job satisfaction condition in the sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited.
- To study the work motivation condition in the sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited.
- To investigate the relationships of work motivation and job satisfaction in the sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited.
The respective research questions to be answered include:
- How is the job satisfaction situation in the design department in Anta Sports Products Limited? From what dimensions are the workforce satisfied or not satisfied with their job or workplace?
- How is the workforce work motivation in the design department in Anta Sports Products Limited?
- Is there any relationships found between the job satisfaction and the work motivation of workforce working in the design department in Anta Sports Products Limited? What is the correlation between the research findings? Is it consistent with the theoretical arguments that workforce that has high job satisfaction is more motivated to work?