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training in China


I am about to start scoping management development programme content for a chinese audience and would appreciate any advice about any cultural factors that i shopuld consider (other than the obvious language barriers.)
louisa conway

5 Responses

  1. Could be worth speaking to Babel
    Hi Louisa

    We use Babel for our ‘Working with the Chinese’ training programme. It may be worth you speaking to Sue Curry to get some ideas of the differences:
    [email protected]

    Sue has a range of short fact sheets on different cultures that may help.

    We’re just opening in China and one of the things we’re discovering is that most of the training is in Chinese, not English.

    Have you got a supplier already? Drop me a mail if you want to discuss.

  2. A couple of “china” contacts
    If you are interested in developing people in China I would recomend that you get in touch with:

    Sharon Horne who is Canadian and works out of Bejing and works as a trainer & coach. See linked in profile for contact details

    Andy Neal of ChangeMaker who have been recently been running a large amount of management development training there for some European companies. See his profile for contact details

    Please feel free to use my name, Andi Roberts

  3. Depends…..
    Hi Louisa,

    I’ve just finished delivering an international Leadership Development Programme with a couple of Chinese delegates, who behaved totally differently, one stereotypically the other not.

    This has always been my experience of the Chinese, for each one who appears typical the next does not. Because the country is so vast their are many regional cultures running, so know which regional culture the people your are going to be training suscribe to, and take that on board.

    The training that I do with the Chinese is run by a Beijing based company called Cambridge Pragmatix, which is joint Chinese and UK run, we train in English as that is what is being asked for by the majority of junior and middle management, international companies being widespread and the demand for English high.

    When training modulate you English accent to either Southern or Northern Received Pronunciation, on top of this we look at who our Chinese delegates are going to be talking to in English and if its Geordies or Kentukiaans we get someone in who has this accent to finish off their international management education, and make certain that they can communicate with who they need to communicate with.

    Also if they have a French parent company, the training will need to be in whatever language the parent company wants…. one surreal example being training a Chinese group in German and French simultaneously on a joint venture project!

    As an additional pointer the Chinese leadership style is evolving very fast at the moment in line with the huge cultural changes that China is going through, expect to have lots of different ideas and opinions, and for their to be an expectation that there is not just one right way of doing things any more – which is hard if there’s a big age difference amongst delegates and if you have a party man in the room.

    All the very best,


  4. Personal experience
    My pesonal experience of training Chinese / Oriental delegates has always been positive. The Chinese culture means that delegates are punctual, attentive and extremely polite. However the down side to this is that their willingness or ability to ‘join in’ can mean interactive sessions can seem a little flat, making you feeling you’ve said something wrong or simply that they are not following. But as long as you are speaking clearly and not too fast the delegates appreciate being taught in a ‘Western’ style. With encouragement their confidence grows in what they perceive as a ‘new’ learning method; by comparison to the formal methods of their school days, and soon they are eager to make a contribution.
    Finally, in all the training sessions I have done with Chinese delegates, the majority of them will take a ‘power nap’ at their desks immediately after lunch. The strangest thing I ever saw until I got used to it.
    I hope everything goes well for you. The challenge to bridge cultures through learning is very rewarding … enjoy!

  5. Cultural factors
    Hi Louisa,

    Cultural factors that you may need to consider probably fall into 2 camps: ie. those factors relating to working with Chinese learners and the second the differences that may exist in assumptions and perceptions of the content of your programme. there would be many factors to consider in each. If we take the second camp, for example, many of the basic assumptions we have in the West about leadership and management may not be shared by Chinese colleagues. (Chinese culture tends to be more hierarchical and top down). Traditionally your job role would be defined more by your boss, on a daily basis, rather than by a job description. Disagreeing with others, especially with senior people is also seen very differently – almost encouraged in the West but not so in China etc.

    If you would like to talk further do not hesitate to give me call (0117 956 4442).

    China experience: I worked asa trainer in China for 2.5 years in Hunan and Hubei. I have a Master in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies and specialised in Chinese Culture and Society. I am currently a partner of thinkingpeople and we deliver cultural training for many organisations working with China.


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