China and UK Differences About Reward Management Practice Aims and Objectives

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The primary aim of the study is to investigate reward management practices with the UK and China. The objective here is to determine essential peculiarities of and differences between the reward systems of the two countries. Then, in order to provide consistent and coherent arguing in the framework of the above issues, the following aim will be to conduct research on factors that affect the practices. To that end, the object to explore will be the business environments of the abovementioned countries. Furthermore, it is vital to discuss a real-life case of an international company that has adapted its reward system to the UK and Chinese features of the business environment. It will be done to provide a strong rationale regarding the implementation of the findings in practice. Within this scope, the objective is the experience of Unilever that operates in both the UK and China.


The issue of employees’ motivation has always been in the focus of the scholarly dimension and successful employers. There has been a plethora of recent investigations that have proved the importance of justified and reasonable reward management systems (Martono, Khoiruddin and Wulansari, 2018; Magnan and Martin, 2019; Johennesse and Chou, 2017). A remuneration approach is among the essential elements of a business system that determine the efficiency of the latter. The issue of what an employee gets for his or her significant performance is the main one that staff considers within the scope of job satisfaction (Magnan and Martin, 2019). Thus, the way a company develops and implements the mentioned strategy defines whether its working environment will be healthy or not, which makes the issue relevant to discuss.

In order to give solid arguments, it seems rational to appeal to reward management practices that might differ to an exact extent. It will allow exploring two extremes, which may serve as a foundation for a broad and in-depth analysis of the theme. It might be assumed that the UK and China might be an appropriate examples in this regard. Hence, the investigation of the differences between common remuneration practices of these two countries was chosen as a primary aim of the study.

In the framework of the issue, the research question is “How has an international consumer goods company – Unilever – adapted its reward system to meet the distinctive needs of business environments in the UK and China?” On the experience of the firm, the research aims to reveal the practical implementation of findings – such an approach will link theory and practice so that the study will be well-developed, structured and consistent.

Literature Review

The recent studies of Martono, Khoiruddin and Wulansari (2018), Magnan and Martin (2019) and Johennesse and Chou (2017) shed light on the issue of the reward management concept. These investigations will serve as a solid theoretical background as each of them provides evidence-based and convincing arguments. The application of the above authors’ findings will make the initial research stages reasoned and connected as they will be a foundation of the further steps.

2019 China business climate survey report provided by The American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (2019) and The economic outlook of the Bank of England (2019) will be used to discuss the Chinese and UK business environment. Both reports are up-to-date and contain relevant information that was obtained and organized by reliable and recognized establishments. These sources provide essential data for formulating the characteristic of factors that affect reward systems in the UK and China.

Then, Morrey and Ma (2019) have conducted a notable investigation regarding remuneration under the Investment Firm Regulation and Directive, which is vital for understanding the legal framework of reward systems in the UK. Furthermore, data provided by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s website depicts the full picture of remuneration practices in the UK (CIPD, 2019).

The studies of Koty (2019), Mac Síthigh and Siems, (2019) and Boquen (2019) show the founding principles and features of these practices in China. The consistent comparison of the findings on the UK and Chinese peculiarities of reward systems given in the above works will be a theoretical core of this investigation. All of the listed sources found their evidence on contemporary qualitative and quantitative methods, which makes their utilization appropriate.

Finally, it seems rational to apply a number of online sources that reflect the current state of the art of Unilever’s reward system. Bennet (2019) provides a brief but exhaustive description of the company’s approach to remuneration. This description refers to a tool that may be explored in more detail via its official website (uFlexReward, no date). Then, in order to provide the overall depiction of the firm’s reward management practices, it might be reasonable to appeal to recent case studies. Facts and findings provided by Winterberger (2017) and Unilever’s total rewards (2018) may significantly contribute to the comprehension of Unilever’s remuneration strategies as they show the company’s recent real-life activities related to the issue.

Research Design

The investigation will be desk-based, which means that no primary research will be conducted. The necessary information will be retrieved from scholarly publications, Unilever’s databases and reliable online sources that provide relevant and essential information. It should be mentioned that it will be a descriptive research type as the primary question of the study aims to depict peculiarities of and differences between Unilever’s reward practices in the UK and China. However, a comparative element is also present – these differences should be discussed through its prism.

The initial stages of the investigation are related to the analysis and implementation of the theoretical background. First, the theoretical findings of scholars in the framework of remuneration strategies and their importance will be discussed. Required sources were obtained from reliable platforms such as Google Scholar. Then, it is vital to give a consistent depiction of the general business situation in the countries. This will address the aim of exploring the business environments, as well as contemporary characteristics of reward practices on the whole, of China and the UK. Data will be retrieved from dependable reports and sources such as The economic outlook and 2019 China business climate survey report. Such an approach will result in a solid theoretical foundation for the following Unilever’s case.

Within the scope of the theoretical background, the final step is to determine the features of common reward management practices in the UK and China. After they are identified, it will be essential to compare them and create a comparative table accordingly. This allows a smooth and coherent shift to Unilever’s practices. The section on it should begin with the report on the company’s local and global strategies, as well as its general description. The firm’s policies will be presented briefly but explicitly, preparing the foundation for addressing the research question. The aspects of the company’s history, environmental policies and specific human resource practices outside the UK and China do not seem to be essential for the project. However, Unilever’s global outlook will be presented as international policies affect the local ones substantially.

After the described above stages, it will be reasonable to move to the core of the research. Here, the reward management approaches of Unilever in the UK and China will be investigated. Given the fact that the business environments and common remuneration practices of the countries will be discussed, the framework for the analysis will be clear. It will lead to collecting only the vital data – but not the redundant one – on the issue. A brief introduction of findings of previous related case studies and reliable analytics will be given.

The necessary information on how Unilever develops and implies its reward strategy will be retrieved from Unilever’s annual report and accounts in 2019 (Unilever, 2019). The latter contains numbers and variabilities on which the company found its remunerations; it may be considered as a primary source for analyzing Unilever’s practices. Furthermore, Unilever’s official website will be used to provide a full-scale description of the firm’s international approaches within the scope of this study’s theme (About Unilever, no date).

Finally, Glassdoor is a web source on which employees can review companies. It contains relevant data on salaries, current and former personnel interviews and benefits related to Unilever (Glassdoor, no date). Three latter sources will depict Unilever’s practices in the framework of its reward management systems.

After the analysis is done, all the crucial findings will be emphasized and highlighted in an appropriate academic manner. Ethical considerations and limitations will be stated fairly, without concealment or skipping. What is more, the study will provide a number of possible directions for further investigations. Such an approach will contribute to designing this research in accordance with the established scholarly principles of academic writing and discussions.

It should be noted that the project will have a number of visible strengths. First, it will explore quite a specific topic that does not seem to be investigated to a great extent. Second, the comparative method will lead to a consistent train of thought and solid arguments, which will bring accuracy and comprehension to key findings. Nevertheless, several limitations of the chosen method will also be present.

The research will be desk-based only, which restricts it from any primary data obtained, for instance, via surveys or interviews. Then, the project will not investigate a correlation between the business environments and Unilever’s reward management practices. It might be a crucial and fundamental issue that, unfortunately, is out of the study’s scope and focus.

Ethical Considerations

Given the fact that this will be full desk-based research, no ethical considerations like gaining participants’ consent or the maintenance of their confidentiality are expected. All of the secondary sources do not seem to have many reasons for concern within the ethical scope. However, the described research design demonstrates the necessity of comparing cultural and political differences of the UK and China. These differences cause distinctions between the UK and Chinese reward systems, which makes them vital to discuss.

Hence, it is important to bring an exact extent of impatience to the study and remain respectful to the cultures of these countries. Then, all the primary data provided by Unilever’s reports seem to show a high level of transparency and accountability; thus, there are no ethical concerns in this regard too. It is confirmed by the fact that these reports are accountable to related governmental establishments and would not have been published if they had any financial or other errors.

Conclusions and Recommendations

In conclusion, it seems reasonable to state that the project will have significant theoretical potential. It aims to identify the primary differences between the UK and Chinese reward systems on Unilever’s example, which may serve as a great foundation for understanding the business environments of these two countries. These differences will reveal in which country an employee may expect better working conditions that are substantially affected by a remuneration practice. An in-depth analysis of the issue will be conducted, taking into account a significant number of aspects – starting from the economic and ending with legal ones. This will make the study reliable and consistent, which will allow referring to it in future investigations. Moreover, stakeholders that aim to expand to or open in China or the UK their business may appeal to the findings of this research. Thus, the project will have a practical implementation – it also indicates a considerable significance of the study.

It is expected that the focus of recommendations will be on the direction of further investigations that may expand the scope of the project. Keeping in mind that this will be desk-based research only, it might be rational to take it as a theoretical background for primary qualitative and quantitative research in the future. Then, another expected recommendation is to expand the framework of the investigation to the comparison of differences between corporate culture in the UK and China in general, considering today’s consequences of BREXIT. It will contribute to depicting a complete picture of the working environment in these two countries.

Reference List

About Unileve. Web.

Bank of England (2019) The economic outlook. Web.

Bennet, M. (2019) Unilever reaps rewards from the home-grown employee benefits system. Web.

Boquen, A. (2019) How to structure a salary package in China. Web.

CIPD (2019) Reward and pay. Web.

Glassdoor (no date) Unilever. Web.

Johennesse, Lee-A. and Chou, Te-K. (2017) ‘Employee perceptions of talent management effectiveness on retention’. Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal, 9(3).

Koty, A. (2019) China’s corporate social credit system: What businesses need to know. Web.

Mac Síthigh, D. and Siems, M. (2019). ‘The Chinese social credit system: a model for other countries? The Modern Law Review, 82(6), pp. 1034–1071.

Magnan, M. and Martin, D. (2019) ‘Executive compensation and employee remuneration: the flexible principles of justice in pay’. Journal of Business Ethics, 160(1), pp. 89–105.

Martono, S., Khoiruddin, M. and Wulansari, N. (2018) ‘Remuneration reward management system as a driven actor of employee performance’. International Journal of Business and Society, 19(4), pp. 535–545.

Morrey, D. and Ma, A. (2019) ‘Governance and remuneration under the investment firm regulation and directive’. Journal of Financial Compliance, 2(3), pp. 207–219.

The American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (2019) 2019 China business climate survey report. Web.

uFlexReward (no date) Reinventing reward: Why we are different. Web.

Unilever (2019) Unilever annual report and accounts 2019. Web.

Unilever’s total rewards portal: consumer goods (2018). Web.

Winterberger, D. (2017) ‘International reward’, in Winterberger, D. (ed.) International human resource management: a case study approach. New York: Kogan Page Limited, pp. 172–198.

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BusinessEssay. "China and UK Differences About Reward Management Practice Aims and Objectives." December 13, 2022.