21 September, 2006

How does communication work in China?

I'm having a hard time figuring this one out. What I've experienced thus far is that
usually, when you ask for something, after a few times, you get it, after a while. There is not typically any communication between the time the person actually agrees to do something and when you get the result (basically, they don't tell you that they agree that they'll get or do it). This isn't always the case, but I'm finding it to be the majority of the time.

How am I addressing this? I'm trying to balance it. I don't want to be a complete
pain in the ass and constantly ask for things and for updates, etc... But, sometimes
I have to be, otherwise it just doesn't happen. Sometimes, if it's not something
really important (like ordering a refrigerator for the office), I just let it slide. Asked once, it was acknowledged, 2 weeks and counting, no fridge. I'm going to wait this one out though. I'm also going to try a few other experiments like this. I need to see what it takes to get things done, and more important, provide some sort of motivation for things to get done...quicker.

Could all of this just be due to the fact that I'm a foreigner who can't properly
communicate here because I don't know the language? Or maybe because I have not accomplished enough guanxi yet? I'm not sure. People are always on their cell phones..talking, text messaging. Outside of work, text messaging is one of the favorites pastimes here, especially with the girls you meet. So, I don't think there is a lack of communication overall...but seems to be in the workplace.

More digging needed on this one...


Anonymous said...

Mike, it sounds like the culture is more interrupt driven than ours - evidence the uber use of cell phones and text messages. As such, there may be less long term scheduling / planning / project thinking than we are used to. As you go through the city, what is your perception on how time sensitive tasks are handled? How do small teams or groups communicate and work together? Police, fireman, construction crews, etc? How are customers handled in retail stores?
- Mark

manninchina said...

Mark, that's an interesting way to compare.

Police...I've seen a fight in Sanlitun ("bar street") and it took the cops over 1 hour to get there...police station is literally right around the corner.

Construction...fast, thinking that is because they have the 2008 olympic torch lit up their a$$

Restaurants/stores...it is hit or miss. Most restaurants, you have to yell across to get a waitress/waiter. As for retail, most I go to target foreigners, so they are all over you to buy something :)