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The challenges encountered by Intel, China

Newly Appointed administrator of marketing programs of Intel in China, Charles Tang was facing level of resistance from an account director is his division Yong Li. Conflict between Chinese and Traditional western management styles is evident and needs to be looked at carefully besides the individual qualities of personnel. American management processes and style should be developed to suit the Chinese style of management as the previous style will never be effective if integrated directly anticipated to cultural restraints. More training to the Chinese staff was required to change attitudes towards the western style of management and expat managers were required to show more restraint and caution using western management habits.

In the situation of Tang he should have given Li an option of either stopping focus on the project or even to complete the task within a particular time frame. This would allow Li to save lots of "face" which is vital in Chinese culture.


Intel was working in China from 1985 but only in 1993 which it went in advance with two wholly had foreign companies. The venture in reference point is Intel Structures Development Co. Ltd. (IADL). On overtaking his new position at Intel, Tang started out restructuring of the company staff to make sure they are more effective in achieving the goals of the business.

Tang had been from his home country for eight years and working in western conditions, his perspectives and perceptions experienced changed. During this same period China had opted through some extreme changes because of the economic situations prevailing but the basic Chinese guidelines didn't change. Chinese language culture is collectivist whereas european culture is more individualistic which led Tang to see every individual as opposed to the overall team performance. This resulted in issues that Tang confronted in building himself within his new role.

Home country culture and designs was reflected in the multinational companies setting up in new countries. Such organizations have a tendency to face problems when they duplicate these prices in other social backgrounds. Organisations of the nature may need to modify their home country settings to match the neighborhood norms. The Intel ideology of "disagree and commit" may be working well in western cultures but would need to be adjusted if it would have to be used within the Chinese language cultural environment.

The conflict that took place between Tang and Li could be analysed against the Chinese ethnic hallmarks the following:

Harmony: Harmony in an organization is created when people have the same thoughts and beliefs and no conflicts can be found. Li was seeking tranquility but then Tang arrived and disagreed with the continuation of his job. Tang disturbed the harmony that existed when the previous administrator was supervising Li's task. Another truth to be known is that when confronted with conflict Chinese will try to maintain tranquility between the people but gleam belief that there surely is a limit to everything.

Time and Endurance: Tang did not wait for Li to finish the project at hand considering that it might be a waste materials of time which is quality of western culture where time is recognized as very important. In contrast in Chinese language culture where the virtues of perseverance and calmness symbolize sincerity, seriousness, competence and self-control. Li might have been offended, considering that his sincerity and competence to complete the task could maintain question.

Flexibility: Li was not given an opportunity to discuss the options for concluding his task and was bought to stop work. According to popular Chinese proverb "to reach your goals in life and achieve greatness, one must be flexible". Another Chinese saying teaches "Nothing in life is impossible, unless one has uncertainties in one's own abilities". Both of these popular sayings show that given the ability and the ambitious figure that Li possessed he'd have been adaptable to adapt the goals which were too high to attain and would have realigned with the company charter.

Trust and Collectivism: Tang being outside China for such a long time was regarded as an outsider and the only way forward to create a harmonious situation was to earn the trust of the employees. Li and the other employees experienced a reason to suspect, withstand and probe Tang's decision since he transformed people's roles as per his judgment. Analysis by Hofstede (1991) suggests that Chinese have confidence in long term instead of short-term orientation. Because of this fact expatriates and outsiders do not gain acceptance easily into the Chinese group, which can have further alienated Tang.

Communication: Trust is a key element in communication with Chinese language as the proper execution of communication would change from an accepted member and an outsider. The communication trend could be more unrestricted if a person is accepted and would be inhibitive with an outsider. Also another important factor here is the choice of words to be used when interacting with Chinese as they could misinterpret discussions leading to misunderstandings. Twin or concealed meanings could be studied from the discussions taking into consideration the indirectness of Chinese communication. A declaration made by China may hide a message in his talk as they avoid the confrontational, provoking and threatening style and conform more to being polite and elegant. Li when asked to avoid the project might have seen a hidden agenda by Tang and triggered him to break his silence and come onward to oppose your choice. The way the information for halting the project was conveyed to Li through his supervisor Qing Chen on behalf of Tang might be a reason for further misunderstandings.

Rule of "Guanxi": Which can be an important aspect to do business in china was possibly ignored by Tang. "Guanxi" is the forging of relations between individuals or organisations. In the case of Tang and Li there is no romantic relationship built between the two wherein no understanding would be awarded for others decision.

The Idea of "Face": Understanding the idea of "face" is also a critical issue in working with Chinese employees. El Kahal (2001) represents face as the public image of a person which has been received by his/her public role and it is respected by others. If someone doesn't flourish in managing his/her communal tasks and responsibilities, he/she loses face. If someone causes another person to lose face, he/she deserves revenge (Xiaoli, 2001). The need for face is so high that China don't give up on an activity or business even if the task or the business enterprise has shown to lead to no positive effects. Under these circumstances, Chinese show high degree of patience to maintain face (Sheh, 2001). Tang asked Li to stop the project that was not really a positive feedback. He didn't support Li's initiatives put into the job he previously been allocated to and thus caused him to reduce face. Li possibly expected a degree of perseverance from Tang and opportunity to finish the project.

In the same context analysing Li's behavior have brought about the following thoughts:

Personality and socialization: According to the available information, Li is low in agreeableness and mental stableness. Considering these attributes, his intense response towards the challenge he has faced is unsurprising. Also, he's high on assertiveness and responsiveness scales which show that he chooses intuitively and shows impulsive manners, which have been the situation in the given situation.

Motivation: Li had been trusted with a task by his former manager and was spending so much time on it for two months. But not highly relevant to his main obligations, the task had been appreciated and when he took a larger step in the task (setting up a book rather than a straightforward manual) he had not been guided appropriately. He thought he was performing a fine job until all of the sudden Tang asked him to halt the project. That higher level of desire (credited to intrinsic factor of self-satisfaction maybe) suddenly changed to a sense of being misused, not being liked, frustration and disappointment.

Lack of communication: Although Tang is trained to respect the school of thought of "disagree and commit" accompanied by Intel, Li is not aware of such a concept as he was not indoctrinated. Instead of a direct company order which caused resistance in this case, Tang should have asked for a meeting and should have clarified to Li where the condition lies.

False perceptions: Tang had been considered as an expatriate and stereotypically judged to be an expat manager who didn't show esteem to his subordinates and evolved the situations of the work environment without reason. This stereotype may have occluded Li's mind. Another facet of the case which can have played a job is that Tang was paid generously in the sight of his colleagues instead of themselves. This kind of thought can effect people's wisdom.

Case Presentation

Considering the facts about the employees and the ethnic setting (including Li) Charles must have first considered about obtaining a "guanxi" going with his employees, receiving their trust and becoming part of the group. This might have opened up the communication along with his employees. The reassignment of the task could have then been more receptive as opposed to the suspicion and resentment that Tang created as a fresh manager. Li must be assured that although there have been changes in the management; there is absolutely no reason for suspicion as he is a capable and talented employee.

In Li's view he had lost "face" and was demotivated and regarding to his figure it was calm natural for him to respond aggressively. Tang should have given Li a far more challenging task and bargained with him to stop work on the existing job citing his skill and determination for giving him a better project than the the one which he is currently focusing on. Here Tang could also show Li his future prospects within Intel if he specializes in his key role rather than the project which is not aligned with the company requirements anymore. Otherwise Tang must have given him a definite time frame to complete the job or stop work on it immediately and focus on his main duties.

Another aspect that needs concern is the social styles. According from what we find out about Li, he is high on both assertiveness (he "tells" and doesn't "ask") and responsiveness (he shows thoughts and doesn't hide them).

This presents us with two situations: will Li continue the job and align it with company policy that may save his "face" or will he stop completely and focus on his key role. In this situation he is more likely to continue and complete the job as it is a subject of conserving his "face" and to demonstrate his potential. Conversely if he can stop the project, being an expressive character he will not be at serenity with himself and will leave the business being a damage to Tang as Li is a skilled and dedicated worker.


In finish Tang should give Li a fixed timeframe and revised project goal to complete the project at hand allowing him to save lots of "face", confirm his talent and not be demotivated. Given this chance would help Tang to forge a "guanxi" with Li, keep him determined and make an impression on his loyalty; which would help in keeping young and accomplished Li that has whole lot of potential. This might also help Tang to break the ice with the other Chinese employees as Li is expressive and would spread the term to others bringing in approval and factor of trust to Tang within the business.

There are some factors which affect the attraction and retention of the greatest employees. These factors are acknowledged universally and aren't limited to a certain culture and nationality. Anne Caldwell (2001) summarizes the main factors in four categories: supplying a benefit package, defining the job clearly and establishing acceptance programs, creating the right environment, and offering creative bonus products. In her judgment, the most valuable and essential feature is a good and supportive working environment. Robert Bradford (2007) is convinced that "people want to feel that they are really special and that their jobs are special". He adds some other elements to those discussed earlier, such as: The name and the popularity of the business, the fulfilling dynamics of the work itself, a prestigious job title, versatile working time and getaways, and building a corporate culture in which employees are empowered to help customers, themselves and their colleagues.

Corporate culture would be difficult to copy to China unless they don't adjust it for the local configurations. Laurent (1986) argues that whenever a conflict is seen between national ethnical ideals and organisational culture the past always takes precedence. In case there is Intel the insurance policy of "disagree and commit" can only just be implemented if it is well indoctrinated to the employees and benefits acceptance by them.

Intel in China can learn a lot from other internationally spread Intel companies which have chosen an effective strategy in appealing to local and international employees. Intel India Development Center (IIDC) is an example. Batra from Intel India (2003) acknowledges the impact of ethnical variations between his country and Traditional western organizational culture of Intel and remarks that the India founded company hires experienced specialists who wish to move to India. These pros help the culture and values of Intel to prevail throughout the company; then experienced local professionals and recent school graduates are chosen and integrated into Intel culture and beliefs. Working in IIDC has the good thing about increasing technological skills and as a result, being promoted and obtaining a higher pay. Those specialists who move to India are offered a compensation package deal that includes stock options, staff stock purchase plan and/or cash bonus deals. Those employees who decide to proceed to India are also given financial help and relocation assistance. Intel in China can also offer a compensation deal for those brilliant Chinese skills living in another country to cause them to become move back to China. However, this bundle should be delicately tailored to meet both personal and ethnical values of these employees.

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