China Business Contributions to the Business Management Profession (Part 2)

Federal and provincial governments wag the tails of China business, rather than the Washington format of campaign dinners, lobbies, caucuses, and industrial associations acting as ‘advisors’ to administrators. Communist perceptions of serving the masses have clear precedence over individual liberty concerns. There are no extravagant severance packages for inept executives as we have seen with the 2007 sub-prime scandals: criticism of individual incompetence is harsh and public. Corruption invites execution.

Accountability extends to the highest reaches of organization. Evaluation is egalitarian and based on issues. A blue collar worker will have no compunction to tell a ‘suit’ what he or she thinks. Blind obedience to controversial instructions is neither a must nor even a merit. China business leaders know that they have to perform or face penalties: this culture extends to the country’s political system. Impeachment, which is rare in the United States, is de rigueur in Beijing and in provinces!

Finally, there is the matter of language. China business thrives as much on informal networking as vending machines, business lunches, weekend bashes, and corporate gifts in any western office. It is just that China business is not apologetic about its alienation from English and the social norms of Anglo-Saxons. It is reasonable to expect to behave like Romans in their cities, but this principle works only in reciprocity!