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Things you should know about Chinese workplace

work in china, chinese workplace

Due to the cultural diversity, a Chinese workplace can be so different from a Western one, in things you may not expect.


If you are planning to go to China for work, you should not miss the following 6 key characteristics of Chinese workplace. 


1. Management in China is hierarchical


A Chinese boss is not used to being questioned by a more junior employee. Even making suggestions and sharing opinions upward is an art form to avoid any appearance of criticism.


2. Little cross-functional transparency


Strong top-down hierarchies prevent transparency across functions, making collaboration challenging. Departments tend to work within and don't let "outsiders" question or suggest anything.


3. Problems swept under the rug – until they blow up


To avoid the loss of face, problems are usually not brought up with the manager or even a client. Instead they are ignored in the hope they may go away, or a creative workaround may be found – without communicating the deviation from the plan.


4. Never assume anything


Management in China needs to be much more "in the weeds" to stay on top of the hidden problems or workarounds. You have to ask very specific questions and closely follow how work is actually done, otherwise you might find yourself with results based on a faulty workaround. The problem is that you don't know what you don't know.


5. Good enough is good enough


"Cha bu duo", loosely translated as "good enough" is a common term in China. Details seem to be less important than in the West. Don't expect perfection, "good enough" (barely) may be all you get in a Chinese workplace.


6. Thinking is collective rather than individualistic


Employees rarely take ownership or go the extra mile. The goal is not upset the overall balance and hierarchy, and not to stick the neck out.


The article is translated and editted by Chinlingo. Please indicate the source (info.chinlingo.com) for any use, reproduction or transfer. 



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