An Article Worth Reading: American Workers in China, a Culture Clash


I think that this is a must-read article by the NY Times for anyone considering doing business in China for the first time.  Our cultures are so different, and it’s difficult to explain in words – you have to experience it to really understand it.  If you’re looking to conduct business in China, definitely spend some time understanding the culture via lessons, the internet, etc. before you get there.  Even the most basic of understandings of the culture will go a long way.

New York Times:  As more Americans go to mainland China to take jobs, more Chinese and Americans are working side by side. These cross-cultural partnerships, while beneficial in many ways, are also highlighting tensions that expose differences in work experience, pay levels and communication.

In the last few years, a growing number of Americans in their 20s and 30s have been heading to China for employment, lured by its faster-growing economy and lower jobless rate. Their Chinese co-workers are often around the same age.

The tight collaboration of the two countries in business and science makes the Chinese-American pairing one of the most common in the workplace in China, said Vas Taras, a management professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a specialist in cross-cultural work group management.

But the two groups were raised differently.

The Americans have had more exposure to free-market principles. “Young Americans were brought up in a commercial environment,� said Neng Zhao, 28, a senior associate at Blue Oak Capital, a private equity firm based in Beijing. �We weren�t. So the workplace is a unique learning process for my generation.”

People in Ms. Zhao’s generation were born around or shortly after Deng Xiaoping opened up China to the West, so China has evolved from a government-regulated economy to a more free-market system in their lifetime. Therefore, they can face a steeper learning curve.

Sean Leow, 28, founder of Neocha, a social networking site based in Shanghai, says young Chinese employees often enter jobs with less hands-on preparation. They may also have less understanding of client services, he said.

remainder of article at nytimes.com

Posted via web from FASTInnovators

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