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As a person living in the present society, everyone must work to live. In this way, they join different companies that suit for them. Company, in the Longman Dictionary, means a business organization that makes or sells goods or services. In this definition, organization is the key word, but when people work together to make money, problems appear naturally. So this essay will analyze four issues about safety and health, organizational culture, gender and leadership in a New Zealand company and compared them with a workplace in China.
The New Zealand company is the world's largest wine search engine. Its owner is Martin Brown, a Kiwi who sometimes stays in London and the supervisor is Adon Kumar, an Indian who speaks fluent and clear English. This web site has more than 37 million searchers every year and 80 percent of them are American, lots of customers around the world mistake it for a America company. There are 35 staffs working there and every month they will send 8,000 emails to the wine merchants. No one can imagine the original small organization with seven people working at home to do some simple research can develop to such a big company. Now they use face book to advertise their web site and communicate with their users as well and if you Google "search wine", the first come is wine-searcher.com. There are three main kinds of jobs in the company, including program, wine specialize and administration. Because of the recommendation by my teacher, I was lucky enough to get a chance to work in the administration of this company to do some database entry for one week.
The Chinese company I had ever worked for one month is not as famous as that in New Zealand. But it can be called the largest place of amusement in Zibo, Shandong. Tian Leyuan Ltd is a company with deluxe guest rooms, KTV, restaurant, and sauna, which was set up in 1999. The president is Libo Zhu and there are more than 100 staffs working in the subordinate companies. My job was to offer wines, cigarettes and plates of fruit to the customers in the bar
Issue one: Safety and Health
Safety and health not only refer to people engaged in work or employment but protecting co-workers, family members, employers, customers, suppliers, nearby communities, and other members of the public who are impacted by the workplace environment. What's more, a safe and healthy work environment also goes beyond physical harm and includes the mental and psychological harm caused by things like anxiety, harassment, verbal abuse or discrimination. So safety and health issue must be the first one that people take into consideration. A company, no matter big or small, should try their best to make employees, customers and co-workers feel at home and ease. This may be one of the premises of success.
In my opinion, the New Zealand company does well in this aspect. Wine-search's work environment is very quiet, people can do their own jobs without disturbance, but in the rest room people can talk with each other as they like. There also have microwave oven, toaster and dishwasher and offer free coffee in the rest room, people can bring their own plates, forks and cups here to enjoy their breakfast and lunch, just like home! Staffs here get a high pay and bonus if they really do something perfectly. Furthermore, they have legal holidays and one month more to relax them. As I am a newcomer, there is one thing impressed me most that the manager never abused me even if I made a lot of mistake in one day. She just said "it's ok, you will be better next time."
By contrast, I never thought those kinds of things could happen in my Chinese company. When I was working there, no room was prepared for us because there was need to do that, we were not allowed to rest until it was time to leave. Moreover, if you made so many mistakes, there were no chance to correct, you would be fired easily. Because of the amusement place, we worked in a very noisy environment, got not good salary and sometimes had to work on holidays. However, few people complain about that, they have little consciousness of occupational safety and health. What they know is the more they work, the more money they get. It's a pity but we have to admit it's the current situation for most employees in China.
Issue two: Organizational Culture
As far as I concerned, organizational culture is the soul of a company. From the narrow side, it includes employees' dress and behavior. Thinking broad, it determines how much a company can achieve and what contributions it can make to the society. Besides, the organizational culture pulls all the people in a company together to fight and persist when troubles come. Sometimes it's a power for people to say "never give up".
To tell the truth, the first time I went to the company of wine-search I really didn't know it was so famous and authoritative in the area of wine. I dressed casually that day to have the interview with the manager. Before we got to the main topic, the manager said to me "you are unqualified for your dress, jeans are not allowed here." I was ashamed and thought it was an inflexible company. But after I began to work I found I was totally wrong. The company gives their staff full freedom. Employees can eat and drink while working. Sometimes you can see people take off their shoes to sit with their legs crossed. No matter when you can go to have a lunch as you like, just make sure you can come back in half an hour but no one will time for you. In the afternoon, if you have worked for eight hours, you can leave without waiting for others. For example, if you go to work at 8:30 am, you can leave at 4:30 pm, but if you come at 9:00, you couldn't leave until 5:00 pm. I appreciate this kind of organizational culture that they have several rules but under these rules give maximal freedom for staffs to work.
The company also makes some clever decisions to establish and develop their organizational culture. They put different kinds of specialists and people from different countries together to let them become familiar and communicate with each other. Every Friday afternoon they will have a party to relax and taste wine in order to make anyone in the company know something about wine. In the company's brochure, you can see these words "You know the wine you want. The real secret is knowing where to find it, and at the best price." It's a promise for customers but also a motto for staffs to do everything better and better.
Compared with that in New Zealand, China's companies are far from enough in the aspect of developing organizational culture, but thankfully they have realize the importance of it. In my company, we need to wear formal clothes and every few weeks two to three employees will get a chance to have a lesson about their working area. Presumably because of the traditional culture or this kind of work, the company cannot give their employees enough freedom. Everything is unchangeable, you don't need to have your own ideas, the all you need is do perfectly as the order says.
Issue three: Gender
Gender discrimination is still a problem no matter in the east or in the west, though it becomes not as important and obvious as the development of era. Looking from outward appearance, women are always weaker than men, so from the beginning it was men to find food and fight with animals and women were responsible for the care of babies. In the 21 century, women's circumspection, patience and subtlety become more and more important to the society. They go out to work and many of them do better than the man. But the traditional ideology still exists; sometimes the gender issue cannot be ignored in some workplaces.
As a female working in wine-search, I didn't find any unequal things between men and women. I really wonder whether it exists gender discrimination or not in this company, so I referred to this question in the interview. Adon, the manager, gave me the direct and clear answer, which was expected but still surprised me. There was no gender discrimination in this company, even in the whole New Zealand society. Because discrimination is not allowed, anything related to it means you break the law. What's more, the female staffs will have great benefit if they get pregnant, a one-year holiday with pay and retaining the working position until they come back.
In China, the thought of gender discrimination is hidden well in the workplace, but you can feel it during the interview. In my workplace, all the girls who want to work there have answered this question: Do you have a boyfriend? If your answer is yes, you almost lose your chance. When you are hired, they will tell you please do not fall in love with your colleague, no office affair here. All these things above are trying to avoid the possibility of getting pregnant. There are so many interviewees, why should the company hire a staff doing nothing but getting paid? What ridiculous is that they will never say you cannot get pregnant while working here, but if you really do, it is the time for you to leave.
Issue four: Leadership
This issue comes last to show the importance of leadership in the workplace. A company can have a group of bad employees but need a good leader. We can say a successful operation of a company depends on the leader. They make decisions, assign jobs and monitor the achievements. The relationship between boss and staff is very subtle and the result is completely different if the employees are forced to work or they are willing to work for you.
Working in the wine company give me a deep impression that leaders here are just like our eldership and friends, they donââ‚¬â„¢t stand high above the masses. The first day we came it was the manager who taught us how to do the database entry. The last day we were "invited" to attend their every-week meeting, at that time I realized people taking the initiative in talking with us were the heads of department. The atmosphere of the meeting was very relaxed; they made jokes and spoke their own idea. The only thing the big boss did was listening. In the company there is a open-door policy, the manager's office door will always open to the staffs. Anyone can come to talk about their problems with him, so he is the first one to know someone will get married and when he will leave for two weeks to Egypt, people come to say goodbye and give him best wishes naturally.
In China, the relationship between boss and staff is completely different. Maybe because China is dominated by one Party and reflecting to a company, it is very hard to see the boss let alone talk with him. He almost knows nothing about their staffs. The head of my department is the leader I always meet, but she is serious and most of time I talking with her is because I make some mistake or I want one day off. I am a little afraid of her and if one day I approve of her or give my wishes, she or others may think I am making up to her.
Summarizing what I have talked about above, China's company really has many drawbacks. It is not easy to change because of the thousands of years' custom and culture, but this country is still trying to learn the good aspects from developed country. New Zealand people believe in equal and freedom, so their companies follow these rules. Employees feel comfortable to work and there is no discrimination about gender and nationality in workplace. Bosses keep their power and close to their staffs at the same time. But China is a rigidly stratified country and always will be in all ages. From a child, we were taught to do as parents told and respect our teachers. We never thought of suspecting the words in our textbook and what we were told by our elders. In this environment, when we bring up, if to be employees we are used to listen to the boss and never care about and speak out our real thoughts, if to be leaders, we need others to obey orders completely. In this way, the organizational culture forms without knowing.
In summary, this essay mainly discusses four issues of safety and health, organizational culture, gender and leadership in two different companies from New Zealand and China. Although the type of company is not same, we can see how different these four issues showing in each company by comparing and all of them make important sense in workplace.