Analysis of Cross Cultural Workplaces: New Zealand and China

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Introduction

A book written by Melling and Booth (2008, p.1) states that "The first concerns the influence of cultural values over the behavior of employers, managers, and employees as they formed relationships, engaged in production, and bargaining over the fruits of output." The author writes that the workplace plays an important role in the culture. If you are expecting to know the culture of one country, a workplace is definitely a good way.

In order to understand the culture of New Zealand and the differences between New Zealand and China in a clear way, the author has worked in a daycare in NZ for more than 40 hours. Meantime, the author has also had work experience in China. That was in a clothing company called Cangshan Xinran Fashion Co., Ltd. The essay will analyse the workplace from four issues. They are organizational culture, human resource policies, gender policies and health and safety respectively. By comparing the different workplaces in the different countries, we can learn about the different culture.

Organizational Culture

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Jump Start Kids Daycare in New Zealand

"This workplace is a full day childcare center for the care and education of preschool children." (G. M. Carter, personal communication, September 23. 2010). The daycare puts emphasis on the growth and education of kids with their whole heart. The period of preschool plays an important role in a child's whole life which can develop intelligence, cultivate interest and gain self-confidence.

In the daycare, the management structure is quite flat. The employees are qualified and registered teachers. To advance the company, they are happy to provide training opportunities for those people who are interested in becoming qualified preschool teacher. However, in terms of the people who are registered teachers, there isn't much space to employ new ones. This is because the staff numbers in the daycare include untrained teachers, trained teachers, a team leader and a manager. If the manager is away on official business, the team leader or other employees are welcome to apply for this job. The author is fully aware of the flat management structure in the workplace.

Referring to employee's accomplishment, the criteria of raising the pay is based more on how well people do the job rather than how long they have been here. That is to say, even if you are a grand old man, this is not reason to raise the salary. There are several ways to measure the accomplishments, like the public's evaluations, how are the goals going and how about your own judgment of yourself.

In regard to the improvement of the daycare, they are still working on how to access children's learning effectively and how to improve the environment. Furthermore, they expect to get more experienced teachers with a high level qualification to work there.

Cangshan Xinran Fashion Co., Ltd. in China

Cangshan Xinran Fashion Co., Ltd is OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) that manufactures and exports garment for foreign customers. They are shirts, neckwears, trousers and baccalaureate gowns. They export to America, Canada, European Union and South East Asia. North America is the main market.

In regard to advancement and improvement, the company doesn't have any opportunities to train new staff. Taking profit into consideration, the company just hires experienced people. The production model is assembly line so that every employee has his own performance measure. The standard of promotion is how about the proficiency, the quantity and quality.

On the other hand, there are some aspects that need to be improved. The most important one is to improve the work environment. As an enterprise, there are many employees working there. If the company expect that stuff can make a good profit, it must be a clean workplace. Secondly, reducing the times of overwork is another important issue. In the peak season, employees need to work almost every night. Certainly, they have premium pay, but the health of staff is also important.

Human Resource Policies

Jump Start Kids Daycare in New Zealand

"A human resource policy has relatively a long life in an organization. Since it is the basis of managerial decision-making hence it must be formulated not only proactively, but also extremely carefully. "(Deb, 2006, p.71). Employees are the core of a company. How to let them work with initiative is quite crucial. A human resource policy is a very important issue.

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In the daycare, discussing the distribution of work, all employees share and revolve the tasks except for the dietitian, like teaching song, organizing activities outside and changing nappies.

As we know, enthusiasm is a huge motivation to learn how to work effectively. In this daycare, manager would like to increase employees' enthusiasm and enable them to interact with kids positively. On one hand, professional development is an important part. On Monday per week, all employees need to attend a meeting in the office. The meeting aims to let them communicate with each other and know how they are going. Meantime, they can share the new knowledge and ideas. On the other hand, during the work, the manager challenges them to do what they have never done. "I'm always pushing them expecting to stand to be higher." (G. M. Carter, Personal communication, September 23. 2010). Furthermore, the manager always celebrates the progress they have made.

As qualified teachers, they need to have a three years degree. In the past, there used to be universities to provide the teacher training. But now, there are some tertiary colleges to offer it, like UNITEC. When the manager selects employees, what she thinks highly of is personality. Meantime, solidarity is quite crucial in teamwork.

In relation to compensation and benefits, on one hand, staff will get presents from the boss on big festivals, like Charismas day. The daycare provides the morning tea and dinner if they need to work overtime. Moreover, it will provide the staff for some courses to study.

Cangshan Xinran Fashion Co., Ltd. in China

Referring to the distribution of work, the supervisor needs to test employees' skills during the interview and decide which job they will do. Certainly, the supervisor always gives them new job to challenge them.

In order to improve the staff's enthusiasm, the company will award those people who are higher in seniority or have done a good job with 1000RMB per month. The manager always goes to the production department to look around and encourage them. Meantime, the staff can enjoy the free food and the free dormitories.

With respect to the compensation and benefits, the company has taken good measures, the author thinks. Every year-end, the salary will increase by 10% and they will get some living things to celebrate the Spring Festival. Furthermore, the company will organize all employees to travel one time per year.

If there are some problems or conflicts between employees or employees and the company, the manager is responsible to mediate and solve them. If he can't, the other way is to resort to the law.

Gender Policies

Jump Start Kids Daycare in New Zealand

In the field of childhood education, the job of a male teacher is resource-hungry. In daycare, they encourage men to do this job. One main reason is that some kids come from a single-parent family without a daddy. It is not quite good that only female teachers work in the daycare because those kids don't have a male model to look after them. According to the survey by the author, there is no male qualified teacher in this daycare. However, there is no difference between a female and male teacher in every aspect, like compensation and benefits, welfare and promotion. They are absolutely equal.

Cangshan Xinran Fashion Co., Ltd. ---China

In the company, the number of males and females is almost equal, but the types of work in the production line are different. Most females are doing tailoring and packing in the production line. The main work of men is ironing and transporting. Doing different types of work has a different salary because some work is complicated and more skilled. However, the treatment is almost equal on the whole.

Health and Safety

Jump Start Kids Daycare in New Zealand

"The law on health and safety at work has, like much protective legislation, developed in a fragmented way over the last two centuries." (Stranks,2006, p.3). In order to guarantee the health and safety of children, there are certainly some contracts to sign, like Health and Safety, Sleep Policy, Sun Protection and Playground Safety. The contract between the daycare and employees is the Employment Agreement. However, the staff can't enjoy the insurance for the Health and Safety. In this workplace, there are some measures to ensure safety which are hydrants, first kid aid, sun hair and sun blocking cream.

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As a rule, employees stressed are big issues in a workplace. In the daycare, the main stress comes from home. The measure the manager is always taking is letting teachers get together and talk about how they are going. It enables people to feel to be cared for and supported.

Cangshan Xinran Fashion Co., Ltd. in China

In this company, the contract between the employer and employee is an Employment Agreement. The company has to pay the endowment insurance for the staff. However, they don't have the insurance for Health and Safety. The company will pay nothing about your health besides for industrial injuries.

Making reference to stress, it's a tricky problem in the company. There are a large number of employees so that it is hard to manage them. It is hard to talk with everyone to know the situation. Everyone has his own stress because the competition in society is quite competitive. Some reasons come from their own families and other reasons are about overwork, low pay and no insurance for the Health and Safety. To ensure safety of staff, there are hydrants, first aid kit and ATS (Anti-thief system). Meantime, every employee has to wear gauze mask to prevent from the respiring powder from the clothes.

Reflections

Jump Start Kids Daycare in New Zealand

After the work experience of being a preschool teacher, the author knows the educational system of NZ in a clear way. For next information, she can get more information by communicating with the manager of the daycare centre.

Firstly, the author thinks that a flat management structure is good for employees because they can feel equality between the manager and themselves. However, it is not a good point that there is not much space to increase the number of registered teachers. They should provide more chances to let employees be uplifted all the time.

Next, it will disappoint the staff if they can't enjoy paid insurance by the owner of the company. However, the author has found the employees don't always need to work overtime. Even if there is, the company will provide the dinner and overtime pay.

Finally, men should change the concept that as a preschool teacher, women are better than men. To some extent, children need male teachers, like those kids in single-parent families.

Cangshan Xinran Fashion Co., Ltd. in China

In relation to improving the company, it shouldn't just stress the profit but also the training. The employees need to improve themselves from time to time to keep them more positive. What's worse, the frequency of overwork is quite high which is so bad for their health. However, they can enjoy fully paid endowment insurance.

As far as the compensation and human resource policies are concerned, the author thinks the system of this company is good. It can motivate the staff to work more effectively with enthusiasm. They have free food to eat, a free dormitory to live in and free access to travel. Nevertheless, there are a large number of staff, so it is hard to take everyone happy.

Comparisons

The author has found that there are many differences and similarities between the two companies after experiencing those jobs personally. However, they are more differences than similarities.

First of all, the management structure is quite different. In NZ, it is quite casual which enables the staff to feel comfortable and relaxed. On the contrary, the Chinese organizational structure is so strict that every employee has to obey the management.

Secondly, "sharing" is a quite representative word in the workplaces of NZ. What they are always pursuing is sharing with people. Teamwork is well regarded by them. However, in Chinese companies, the accomplishments are evaluated by personal quantity and quality. This is the biggest difference in the work environment between NZ and China.

Thirdly, the salaries and benefits are quite distinct. In NZ, the manager will give the staff small presents when the festival is near. In China, the boss will increase their salary and distribute living goods to celebrate the big festival, like the National Day and the Spring Festival.

Next, they have different ways of evaluating and running the educational system. In NZ, there are many places to study, like universities and tertiary schools. Wherever you get the degree, as long as you have the skill of what the company needs, you will be admitted and accepted. By contrast, in China, the university with a good brand is the key criteria. They won't put emphasis on the level of skills. So many people who study from technical schools can't find a good job. That's a quite bad situation.

Of course, there are some similarities between the two countries. The ways of running overtime is similar. The staff will get free food and overtime pay. The two companies don't have any insurance for Health and Safety, but the Chinese one has an endowment insurance for each staff member.

Conclusion

By working in different countries, the author can feel some culture shock. "The student of culture studies not human individuals but the interrelationships of culture forms like technologies, institutions, idea and belief systems." (Oberg, n.d.). The workplace is a perfect place to feel the different culture by interacting with people, observing the organizational structure and learning the style of solving problems.

By analysing two different workplaces, the author can see the different societal concepts in different countries. There are unique in every country. Let's take an example: in NZ, the boss likes giving presents to employees to celebrate the big day. Compared with this, Chinese managers prefer to increase the salary. The author can't say which one is better because every style has its own meaning and everyone has his own standard. Foreign people would like to express their feelings by some delicate goods, like artware, souvenirs and greeting cards. However, Chinese people like awarding staff by using money and some practical things. Judging from these, the author can see the huge differences in culture between these countries.

In conclusion, one country is like a big institution. As long as you join and experience it, you will integrate in the society and feel the cultural diversity. Workplaces play an important role in this big institution. It is an indispensable part of the culture in any one country.