Managing in China

Beijing, China
Running time: 
44 minutes
Management -- China
Business enterprises -- China
Corporate culture -- China -- Cross-cultural studies
Corporate culture -- United States-- Cross-cultural studies
Social change -- China
Teaching Notes: 

This series of interviews was conducted in 1996 in Beijing by Paul Goodman and Denise Rousseau without official approval. Some of the interviewees asked to remain anonymous.

The video contains three parts: 1. Reflections on changes underway in China. 2. Work organizations in China. 3. Advice from Chinese managers to US managers operating in China.

In Part I, a Chinese manager recently returned to her home country after spending several years in the USA reflects on the rapid social and economic changes underway in China, particularly the shift from “family” to “consumer” values. She also testifies of the difficulties of adjusting to the unwritten rules of Chinese corporate culture.

The second part (which corresponds to “Part II” and “Part IV” of the Teaching Notes) focuses on work organizations in China. First, an engineer who has made the transition from a government-owned organization to a multinational firm describes the contrasting experiences he has had in these two types of firms. Typically government-owned organizations provide a wide safety net, but employees have fewer responsibilities, career development is more predictable and the pay is lesser. The video then explores some features of Chinese organizations from the perspective of a Chinese professor and consultant. Professor Sun talks about reward systems and describes how the younger generation, more westernized and better educated, is less willing to follow orders.

Part III features advice from Chinese managers to US managers operating in China. Topics covered include the role of “human relations” (favors and bribes), being respectful of the local culture, and the importance of local assistants.

See also Doing Business in the U.S. and Mexico for a study of managing across cultures.