Training Chinese knowledge workers fails

[This isn’t directly about steel, but I got it in a newsletter I receive regularly about the Auto Industry and China, so I guess it’s somewhat related. I especially found it interesting how everyone thinks they are benefitting at someone else’s expense, and how government policies have contributed to the problem.]

CHINAtalk articles

In a thorough study on how China’s human capital is educated and training, Will Hickey paints a grim picture of wrong perceptions among all players, over expensive and ethnocentric training that basically fails to prepare China’s employees to build up a solid resources of knowledge workers.


Chinese workers are remarkably well adapted to crunch numbers, do engineering, and utilize software but the issues of communication, collaboration, teamwork and leadership are endemic problem areas. The findings indicated that continuous use of ethnocentric solutions are meeting with questionable results.

There is a large assumption about exactly who develops and how to develop talent of both workforce and management in China. Foreign direct investment (FDI) believes it to be local Chinese polytechnical schools and universities, alternatively, the Chinese government looks for Western expertise to develop their citizenry. A real time assessment shows that MNC management, whether ex-patriate or Western educated Chinese management, believe consulting and training companies in China can do the job. All three are misguided.

At Chinese universities concepts such as teambuilding, group discussion, leadership, and presentation are not put forward, as they are in Western ones. Of course, much of this is promulgated by the government, which does not want its citizens engaging in active dialogue, and has therefore discouraged, if not banned, such activities from its universities and colleges. Chinese universities are now partnering with Western universities to deliver ‘executive MBA’ programs. Respondents told the researcher anecdotally they consider this training expensive and unreliable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.