It has now been more than 5 and a half years since I’ve moved back to Hong Kong.
At first I was quite lucky and was sheltered from most of the typical working style of Hong Kong businesses. I worked for large corporations like “Hongkong Telecom”, “Arthur Andersen” and most recently “Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.”.
My immediate reports for the past 5 years had always been North Americans. To be specific, North Americans who had been working away from North America for a short while (less than 10 years). Also, they have worked in North America for many years prior to coming to Hong Kong or Asia.
You may ask, what is the difference between North American style and Asian style? Well, from my short experience here, I would say it is the objective or driving force behind a task or goal that the employees are trying to achieve.
What do I mean?
In a North American business, when it comes down to getting things done, achieving an objective, one would rarely say that they have to accomplish an objective because of so and so. It is always because it benefits the organization (company) that they are currently employed at.
Where as in Asia (at least in Hong Kong), employees frequently refer to an individual, who is higher up in the echelon, as the reason to achieve an objective.
Which is the better way to success for a company? Well that depends on the individual high up in the echelon who is making all the demands.
To further consider this question; just think of the most successful companies in the world and the cultures they come from.
I have come to my own conclusion, but I will leave it to you to find your own.