Job Change—from Foreign to Domestic
I saw in the news yesterday that CR Vanguard is planning to acquire the China operations of the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco.
This will mean a change in work environment for a big crowd of managers. In the job market, this type of talent flow is common—especially for those jumping from a foreign firm to a domestic company.
As the Chinese economy has developed and overall levels of globalization have increased, the divisions between foreign and domestic (private) enterprises have become largely symbolic, and the structures of their management have become increasingly similar. Against this backdrop, switching from a foreign company to a domestic one doesn’t just herald a boost in opportunities and wages—it also means a contrast in corporate cultures and work styles.
In terms of corporate culture, the challenges lie in adapting to the different ideologies, values, backgrounds and ways of thinking of local co-workers, and learning to communicate and deal effectively with them. In terms of work styles, the differences manifest in the use of specific working methods and management tools. Due to the differences between these two types of company, workers transitioning from foreign firms to domestic enterprises will run into certain difficulties, and will require relatively long periods of adaptation. On top of that, management at domestic companies is more complex than at foreign firms, and involves the considerations of shareholders. Professional managers from foreign enterprises, however, may have only limited experience dealing with these issues. At domestic companies, learning to work well with the boss may also require a relatively long period of adjustment.
For these reasons, career managers looking to transition to domestic enterprises should do so with an open mind, and should be ready to learn all the good things domestic firms have to offer. After all, only a professional manager who understands the rules of the commercial game can be called a mature, experienced manager.