Company Culture - Achieving greater organizational efficiency in China

What new trends are MNCs facing in China?

  • The rising power of China is changing the international business landscape.
  • ‘NextGen Chinese leaders’ – from follower to independent influencer.
  • ‘All eyes on China’ and the pressure of ‘the bridge’ role but HQ tired of ‘China is different’.
  • Trust levels in Sino-European teams can still remain rather low.


Speaking on this topic, ICUnet Senior Account Manager Sangyi, Li says “International companies wanting to succeed in China need to align strategy with company culture, and both of them to the market. And Chinese companies going abroad, or working with Western companies here in China need to ensure that their company culture is aligned to goals. Otherwise there is substantial risk of failure.”

Company Culture – how to achieve greater organizational efficiency in china?


At ICUnet, we firmly believe that intercultural understanding and awareness of differences and similarities between various cultures is the foundation of trust, and that building trust is the cheapest route to success.


As an example, ICUnet was contracted by a German-Chinese Joint Venture facing challenges due to differing company cultures. Problems ranged from shareholder policies, different visions and pain points, and differences in strategic planning. Furthermore company culture differed in consensus-driven versus top-down leadership, while the German partner found SOE culture hard to decode.


The ICUnet consultant team immersed themselves in the company cultures to understand the true nature of the challenges and how to overcome them so the JV could operate more efficiently. The team constructed culture audits and post-merger cultural alignment, immersion programs for top management, as well as leadership meeting facilitation.


The solution delivered didn’t just involve top management. ICUnet also organized development programs for Chinese leaders, and cultural mediation. Furthermore the project entailed alignment of organizational cultures, and of cross-departmental leadership and motivation behavior. And alignment of common values, vision and mission.


The ICUnet company Culture Development Program was a success, leading to the JV getting Return on Investment by operating much more efficiently, gaining more aligned company culture, and better cooperation in operations.

Apart from a successful project delivery, the ICUnet team also got the opportunity to hear numerous employees explain how they appreciated the chance to explore the JV company culture, communicate positives, and bring up areas for improvement. To them, this was the value of bringing company culture to the table. Sometimes executives think company culture is too abstract, worrying whether employees will get onboard. In ICUnet’s experience, it’s all about creating a dialog in a systematic and constructive way. You will be surprised how much employees value this, and how much this may contribute to the all-important employer branding.