In China, there is a lot that you might not imagine. I was talking with some Western Sales Managers in China and they both complained of having Chinese Salesmen whose central focus is selling for their family’s company while working for their Western Company. They never imagined this would be a common problem.
An American said this to the person working government affairs in her troubled factory:
“Do whatever it takes.”
The failure of the factory to complete it’s investment meant it could not get a loan, and the government would not allow them to lower their registered capital.
She went to a senior Chinese manager who told her to falsify documents which is criminal. He gave his assurances that it is OK to do this illegal thing for the good of the company. Then she falsified things, so they could get a loan. The American later found out. He then could not sleep anymore as someone could look closely someday, and the whole thing could crash.
American workers when pressured will naturally go to the limit of the law but not past. Chinese workers will often slip right out into illegal space. Note the graphic.
Would your American senior worker criminally falsify records when you said, “Do whatever it takes?”
“You Might Not Imagine” Does Not Have To Ruin Us
Westerners can often not imagine what choices Chinese people would consider possible. For example, we could not imagine putting melamine in milk to increase our profits. Many (28%) Chinese now have clearer boundaries. You should stick with them and work with them as you might not imagine what others may do. For what Chinese suppliers often do see Chinese Suppliers: Competitors, Not Friends. For thoughts on getting Chinese people who do not do these things see We First Doubt Everything We Hear.
To conclude, we can avoid going to jail and have better success if we make sure we get people who are really on the same page with us.