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Chinese Office Culture


Hong Yang (洪洋)

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Hong Yang (洪洋)

I am soon to be working in an office environment in China, I would welcome advice on the following:

- Interacting/communicating with your junior/senior staff in a large organisation;

- Best methods of staff motivation;

- Ways to encourage efficiency in Chinese staff (overcome apparent inefficiency?);

- What to avoid;

- Anything I must know!;

Obviously I'm talking in broad terms, so am expecting general answers. I'd be grateful for any tips.

Thanks

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:clap

My name is Adam and I have worked in Japan with english and I have had the pleasure to serve in other areas in the Asia. I am from America and I found that the teachings from certain movies ( though a little extreme in some areas) helped me and my co-workers. I will give you a list of the top 3 videos that not only built our companies to the top ten, but also made great friends along the way;

The Titens

Empire of the Sun

The Power of One

In all of these movies, it showes a common bond between two groups that need to work towards a purpose, a goal you might say, and the fact that these are based on real events keeps the veiwers attention. Now I am not saying, get the kiddies together for movie time, but rather pull some scenes here and there to show works, the pleasure, and even sharing the heart breaks, as a team.

In Osaka, I needed to get the team feeling as one, and not as indaviduals,while at work so poeple will help one another and have a concern for a team and not for a check at the end of the week.

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Hong Yang (洪洋)

Thanks Adam, this sounds like a useful motivation technique for team-building, and one that I hadn't thought of. I will try to get hold of the films you mentioned.

I would be interested to hear any other thoughts on what to consider when working in China, with Chinese. The reason I ask is that I have heard stories such as the following:

A Chinese worker might only tell you what you want to hear when, for example, agreeing to tasks or reporting on activities.

Chinese workers can at times be inefficient (I'd be interested to hear an example of this).

Chinese workers are adverse to risk and can be reluctant to take responsibility for something (might this have something to do with 'face'). I have also seen this cited as a reason Chinese like to have a foreign boss.

Can anyone confirm that these stories are true? I am merely putting them up for debate.

Adam - The fact that you mentioned Japan raises further questions for me, see my new post 'Chinese Productivity'.

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"A Chinese worker might only tell you what you want to hear when, for example, agreeing to tasks or reporting on activities.

This problem goes beyond work, this behavior is steeped in political and personal survival and they are generally so good at it you'll be shocked.

Chinese workers can at times be inefficient (I'd be interested to hear an example of this).

They are generally used to being told not only what task to accomplish but how to do it. Inspire them to be efficient and publicly praise (and occasionally) those who complete tasks fully, successfully and ahead of schedule. This works everywhere else, and it works there too.

Never, ever under any circumstances correct someone in front of others. If training is needed, do it behind doors and below hearing levels.

Chinese workers are adverse to risk and can be reluctant to take responsibility for something (might this have something to do with 'face'). I have also seen this cited as a reason Chinese like to have a foreign boss."

Chinese like to have foreign bosses because they are less bossy (watch a chinese soap opera about businessmen) and usually easier going. Though at first you may need to lay down the law once in a while because some will try to see how far they can push you (being late, long lunches, QQ, late assignments, etc).

Being risk adverse is due to cultural factors much older than anyone you'll work with, so nicely encourage people to experiment with new ideas and ways of thinking.

Make an effort to recognize potential leadership to inspire the others. I'm sure you've already been taught these things at your stateside company, you'll just have to be more "outward" in your efforts.

And don't let them tell you "this is the Chinese way" if they are doing something in some way that you really don't like. This phrase is often used as a cultural pride thing and to cover up for screw ups.

If they want to make a point of it, be forceful. Tell them that your wishes have nothing to do with nationality, it has everything to do with company culture.

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I watched The Apprentice presented by the NBC, and think we Chinese are not complicated than the Americans. We are all man species, we all just wanna make a living.

So, be honest with Chinese mates. Just show truly yourself. Never hesitate to express your feeling and mind. Even though it will be different and difficult for Chinese, but you can believe, most of the Chinese will understand if you showen the explaination.

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