Establishing an “ECL” Culture in China: Organisational Difference or National Difference?
I. Analyze the culture-learning process at ECL
China is one of the most attractive and biggest emerging market for multinational corporations. ECL, as a leading corporation throughout the world, decided to join Chinese market. For foreign corporations, China provides promising opportunities in terms of its size and diversity in the market. However, at the same time, there are also challenges and risks that corporations confront when entering the market. Among these, one of the most notable challenges is about managing cultural differences between markets. In response to this challenge, ECL developed their own Global Management Policy and implemented it to ECL’s China branch. At the same time, they also tried to embrace Chinese culture into the corporation.
Reinforcement of ECL’s key beliefs
Between globalization and localisation, ECL chose to set their strategy towards globalization - they emphasized on establishing their culture in China rather than adapting Chinese culture. According to the case(P.4), it can be seen that “ECL always tried to ensure consistent understanding of its management principles, and these common principles had to be shared by its employees in China”. ECL had well-organized global management policies which were proved to be successful throughout the world, ECL tried to apply the policies to Chinese market and set up 10 methods to survive in Chinese market. These methods could be classified under 3 main categories. First of all, ECL tried to reinforce their key beliefs. According to Exhibit 1, one of their key beliefs is “constant respect for people” which means treat others with dignity. Fortunately, this part already possesses similarity with Chinese culture of respecting “face”. This stands for possibility of strengthening the harmonious value-sharing of the ECL expatriates as well as Chinese staff.
Training method at ECL University China is another example of injecting their beliefs into China. 70% of the training-needs analysis were conducted by the U.S. training experts, providing “top-down” analysis reflecting the style of ECL’s head office while the rest of 30% conducted by Chinese experts, providing localized solution. This figure represents the fact that ECL is putting effort in building up their culture in China.
The Western style communication and company structure
ECL tried to introduce Western style communication and company structure to China. “I recommend” is one example of this efforts. It facilitates Western style communication, facing against the hierarchic and indirect way of it in China. ‘Dialogue sessions and Town Hall Meetings’ can be understood in similar context. This method is “an integral part of the development-oriented management system” which is the solution for revaluing personal development. Again, Western style communication is promoted. Face-to-face discussion runs across against the hierarchy, making employees appeal their opinions about their future development plans and think about their personal career aspirations. Finally, this type of leveling-off efforts also appears in Human Resources Department. By locating HR department equivalent with other business functions, ECL tried to interact with all departments at a high level. As a result, all departments are highly integrated, tearing down the top-down hierarchy decision-making systems.
Respect to Chinese value of the building trust and relationship Finally, approaches trying to integrate the Chinese value of the building trust and relationship can be seen in ECL. Coaching, just like a mentor system, supports this function by connecting the workers in high and low positions. This could be a solution for “personal relationship”. To add on to that, Staff Rotation system also promotes ‘we’ spirit by “the sharing of insights and observations with colleagues through an in-company network”. Employee Service...
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