AIC vs ABC .. .. Managing the Dragon author Jack Perkowski attended Yale on a football scholarship and was a successful investment banker. After 20 years there on Wall Street, he decided he could set up a business in which he knew nothing about in a new country in the 1990s China. He speaks no Chinese and is reluctantly to learn. In the process, he made grave but common mistake to “discounted the views of my Chinese managers.” Then he tried to convert the unsuitable ‘bureaucratic’ and ‘entrepreneurial’ Chinese managers he already had into the kind he wanted, but by and large that failed too. Americans stubborn enthusiasm should be admired in distance but disapproving when it’s too close.
Yishi is an extremely capable girl, outgoing and resourceful. She was on the swimming/badminton team at Qinghua, and graduated on top of her class in 1985. She soon found a dream job at GM, moved to Shanghai, came to US often for training and business trips. Then she resigned in the late 90s. “Not much to do” was her first line. When I pressed, she admitted that her American bosses were ignorant and stupid,left her no room to grow.
Another friend mentioned his close friend, an American had the job only because no one else wanted it. So the only kid raised his hand in the crowds got the job. ‘He didn’t understand Chinese, mean to his employees.’ His company was one of those big cracker makers, and guess employees felt they’re entitled to take few with them from time to time. I wasn’t there to see how severe the stealing was or under any particular circumstance, but my friend said the American shouldn’t have bothered,
‘It’s so petty .. threw employees little bones .. .. 吃小亏占大便宜 . ..’
The American was since replaced when more kids with fancy degrees and sharper minds raised their hands.
It’s so absurd that Americans think they can impose their rules/wills and manage foreign culture/staff elsewhere. Not just China. It lost Vietnam war, Korean War, under estimated the Iraqi war .. no of the American companyies had ever made money for the first 20 years in China since Deng Xiaoping .. .. Of course I’m perfect, knows everything, done everything right.