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Change Management in China


Mike

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你好!

I’m interested in discussion and theories on Change Management in China. I have to complete an assignment on Change Management. I am aware of English language references to the work of Balogun and Hailey (‘Exploring Strategic Change’), Laurie Mullins, and Kotter’s 'eight steps to successful change', for example: -

Article about Kotter's 8-steps...

I want to refer to the work of Chinese academics and business people. I understand that leading and managing change is context dependent and therefore issues such as culture will play a significant role but I am very interested to read about effective change management in China.

One small difficulty (:( - I apologise) is that I understand very little Chinese. I am hoping that some well-known work will have been translated into English.

Can anyone suggest Internet links to resources that might lead to the information I am after?

Appreciated.

迈克

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  • 2 months later...

from aforementioned article:

Step 1: create a sense of urgency

Step 2: put together a guiding team

Step 3: create visions and strategies

Step 4: communicate for buy in

Step 5: empower people

Step 6: produce short-term wins

Step 7: build momentum

Step 8: nurture a new culture

well... here's what works for me in china...

上课

in china, first you must make in-roads with decision-makers.

then you need to discuss past successes of decision-makers.

then you must show the path to continued success is through "small" changes.

introduce the changes as win-win situations, each proposal in the form of a long-winded (but effective letter highlighting continuity and smooth transition).

you must oversee every step of the change cycle and insert yourself as the main stakeholder that will shoulder the brunt of failure.

when transition is complete, transfer all the "praise and accolades" to the decision-makers.

下课

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Thanks geek_frappa

when transition is complete, transfer all the "praise and accolades" to the decision-makers
I'm glad this bit is the same everywhere :-)

In China do workers and junior managers get to contribute to planning and designing of the change process? I also wonder if China is so successful in business simply because of scale and cheaper work force costs, or because of better management and change management, or both, or something else?

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i only speak from my experience in manufacturing sector... so....

In China do workers and junior managers get to contribute to planning and designing of the change process?

short answer: yes, both contribute, but don't show your cards to jr managers.

--

long-winded answer:

(quick cantonese lesson: long-winded is CHuuuRRRNG-HEY)

workers

it depends. (this is merely my style, there are infinitely many solutions) i consult workers discreetly so they avoid punishment in lieu of "perceived mutiny".

why do i talk to the workers? the girls on the assembly line are extremely smart women from diverse backgrounds. some are engineers, chemists, and mathematicians, but the confucian influence in china relegates them to manual labor supervised underqualified male (or woman who need to prove they can be male) superiors whose drinking ability landed them the management position.

junior managers

i don't discuss change to junior managers because they want to be middle mangers and executives, so they will make a beeline to their bosses and describe your "micro-change" as possibly risky. instead, i ask a few "yes or no" questions to the junior managers, based on the information from the workers. keep a poker face and avoid talking to junior managers. make sure they feel in control. (when i was a rookie in chinese manufacturing, i couldn't shut my mouth. each project failed for unexplainable. when i kept my mouth shut and put on a poker face, jobs got done. silence is respected and you earn trust.)

I also wonder if China is so successful in business simply because of scale and cheaper work force costs, or because of better management and change management, or both, or something else?

short answer: something else. nobody knows yet.

--

long-winded answer:

china is success in business partly because everything in china is business, so TRUST and RESPECT is all you need to backup your good decisions. each industry reacts differently to each of the aforementioned factors. scale usually amplifies good and bad decisions, cheaper work force usually lowers retention (new year, new job) so quality control is a nightmare.

chinese manufacturing companies dislike "management". they sometimes see the list of action items as list of demands from american companies to "change" their way of life. if more companies would go with the flow, relax, and build long term relationships with companies and surrounding communities, your productivity actually goes up.

for example, some chinese companies can afford to allow chinese workers 30-days-straight paid vacation to go relax and improve life, visit family, which what i am trying to do next year. america and china are two of the few country who don't require mandatory vacation time.

but executives are greedy for 功名富贵 ...:roll:

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry for late 'Thank You' geek_frappa - very interesting observation.

btw - I also received a PM about 'Navigating Through Chaos in China : A Cultural and Business Compass for Managers and Business Leaders' by Ronny Julius C. See Gazelle Books and at mentognost.com.

I haven't read the book yet but apparently "This book reveals the basics of Chinese-ness in business in the context of the economic model of China Corporate".

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:D In China there are so many different types of personalities. I'll need to read the book then get back to you. ^^ haha

Chinese-ness in business

run away from anyone who says they can provide you insight into this.

each human is different, especially in China. there are people from malaysia, singapore, india, vietnam, laos, russia, everywhere. business may have some eastern traditions in many areas, but "Chinese-ness" sounds strange to me.

just remember that business is business and you'll be just fine.

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