Are Chinese Asians or Chinese

Stumbling blocks when dealing with Asian employees

The more intensive the contact with Asia, the more sensible it is for German companies to employ Asian employees at home as well. However, day-to-day cooperation requires adjustment from both sides.



Regardless of whether they come from China, Japan or Korea: East Asian graduates from German universities in particular generally have an excellent command of the language, have been in Europe for many years and therefore generally have few problems integrating into a German company.

Nevertheless, there are some classic areas in which Western and Eastern ideas do not always immediately coincide. Even if some employers would secretly like to insist on complete adaptation: Not every peculiarity is negative.

Japanese, Chinese - it doesn't matter?

Nothing annoys Asians more in the long run than to be seen as such permanently and across the board. Precisely because many Chinese, Japanese and Koreans go to great lengths not to portray their origins too ostentatiously. Interest in their countries of origin is therefore welcomed, but many would still prefer the natural integration without large gestures. The happy nationality roulette also causes displeasure: Chinese and Japanese do not want to be confused for historical reasons and Koreans and Japanese are not exactly green either - especially since the cultural differences between the various countries are really big!

A lot of commitment to the job

The separation between private life and work is less pronounced in East Asia than in Europe. If you do a job that you would like to forget in the evening, it would be better to look for a different job than to insist on your private life - this is the attitude of many Asians. So overtime, late calls from the office or off-duty work for work-related matters can hardly scare the Chinese or Japanese - maybe that's why East Asians suffer less from burnout? This committed attitude, however, also makes the employer responsible: as many Asians are willing to put their private concerns aside when it comes down to it, the German supervisor should also approve the painful short-term vacation in the high season, if the family does in the home requires.

In general, a certain personal interest is often expected from the Asian side. Managers are always a bit of a father figure: They should not only demand commitment, but also keep the employee's private background in mind. What is basically already perceived as cross-border curiosity in Germany is often still an expression of sympathy for East Asians. Discussions about the suitability of the fiancé as wives, or whether it wasn't about time to think about having offspring, are not considered a faux pas in China or Korea.

Responsibility? I do not know.

For many Germans rather surprising, East Asians often seem to strive less for responsibility. Dr. Dagmar Gürtler, intercultural trainer, explains this alleged weakness: "This shows a different understanding of roles than in Europe. For example, it is part of the position of department head to take on responsibility. . Last but not least, there is also a certain degree of caution behind it: "The nail that looks out is hewn into it" is a Chinese proverb. Who wanted to attract attention too quickly?

Mediation asked

When it comes to conflicts, East Asians see their superiors as having a far greater duty than Europeans. While German employees are tacitly expected to clarify their differences and only turn to their superiors in an emergency, in East Asia it is good form to show a certain interest and possibly intervene to mediate.

In general, there is something negative about conflicts: East Asians often act true to the motto "look for similarities, leave the differences", explains Dr. Gürtler: "You don't even try to give so much weight to differences. Some conflicts eventually resolve themselves at some point." The question of who is right does not always have to be answered immediately. Ultimately, what counts is who prevails in the long term. And this doesn't necessarily have to be done in one big show fight.

Fittingly, East Asians are generally less inclined to put themselves in the foreground. The group is more important than in Europe, so that the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans define themselves as part of the team rather than as an individual. No wonder that self-control is considered an important virtue in East Asia.

Here today, there tomorrow

Especially Chinese employees are not entirely wrongly considered to be very willing to change when it comes to the workplace. But this is, according to Dr. Gürtler owed less of a fickle attitude or even a lack of identification with the company: "There is often real pressure behind it to earn as much money as possible as quickly as possible and to have a decent career. After all, the families of origin invest enormous sums of money in training, and especially studying abroad it comes dear ". Anyone who wants to keep East Asian employees should therefore offer them the opportunity for professional development and address this issue openly.

A maxim that also applies to all other areas. Because only then, says Dr. Gürtler continues, "Stumbling blocks can become the milestones of a successful intercultural cooperation".

(Françoise Hauser, February 2012 / Image: stockstudioX)

You might also be interested in:

Making the world of work more flexible
Working time accounts, working from home and sabbaticals: Today's working world is becoming more and more flexible. Employees can decide where and when to work. We will introduce you to the various options for increasing flexibility. >> Read article

Intercultural training
Intercultural training helps to master cooperation across cultural boundaries. But what can these training courses achieve and what should you pay attention to? >> Read article

Workers from abroad - the most important rules
There is a shortage of skilled workers in Germany, while masses of unemployed academics are on the streets in southern Europe. Hiring EU citizens is very easy. >> Read article