The following article talks about how difficult it can be to change corporate culture when it contrasts significantly with the local culture. For example, I know from my teaching, how difficult it can be for people who have been brought up to treat people in authority informally. Emotionally they feel it is rude so, even when they are advised to do things like use a first name to address such people, they really struggle to do so. Interesting read.
This is what corporate culture change looks like: a chief executive camped out in the lobby of headquarters, wearing a “Hello, my name is…” sticker and shaking hands with employees as they walk through the door.
That’s what Yang Yuanqing, the head of personal-computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd. did in 1999, according to a new book by two Lenovo executives detailing the Beijing-based company’s transformation from a quintessentially Chinese firm into a global giant with operations in 60 countries.
Previously, employees were used to calling their boss “Chief Executive Officer Yang,” or Yang Zong in Mandarin, a common practice in the formal, hierarchical style of many Chinese companies. But YY, as he is now known within the company, believed such rigid traditions would inhibit Lenovo’s evolution from a Chinese to a global firm.
But just telling employees to change their habit wasn’t enough…