Taking on the Chinese Challenge: Motivating Chinese employees at Swedish companies in China

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för marknadsföring och strategi

Abstract: The number of Swedish companies is increasing rapidly in China. Previous studies indicate that work motivation is one of the major obstacles foreign companies are facing in China, as work motivation plays an important role for a company’s success. The purpose of this thesis is to shed some light on the employee motivation issues in the Chinese context and the related leadership challenges which the growing number of Swedish companies are facing in China. Empirical data is primarily collected from qualitative interviews with managers and non-managerial employees at five Swedish companies in China. The results suggest that interesting work and promotion & growth are the most important motivational factors for Chinese employees at Swedish companies in China. A pattern of diverging views between managers and non-managerial employees is found and discussed. Some specific successful features of how Swedish organizational culture and leadership style effect motivation are presented and the need for adaptation to the Chinese context is discussed. Finally, it is suggested that Swedish managers should take the complex mindset which the new generation of Chinese employees has into consideration when working with employee motivation in China.

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