First Advisor

Devorah Lieberman

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication


International business enterprises -- Employees -- Training of -- United States, International business enterprises -- Employees -- Training of -- China, Employee training personnel -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, vi, 255 p.)


As Western business increases in China and China acquires more technology from the West, the need to effectively train the Chinese workforce becomes more important. Identifying and understanding the perceived problems that Western corporate trainers encounter when they train Chinese may lead to more effective and efficient training programs. This study examines the experiences of trainers, working for American companies, who have designed and implemented training programs for Chinese from the People's Republic of China. The purpose of the study is to identify perceived problems the trainers encounter and to determine whether differences between Chinese and American cultures may account for these problems. Hofstede's Value Dimensions of Cultural Difference and Hall's Low-High Context Communication Schema are used to analyze the dimensions of cultural difference operating between the trainers and students of these training programs. Hofstede's and Hall's rating of U. S. culture as an individualist, moderately low power-distance, moderately weak uncertainty-avoidance, low context culture contrasts with the collectivist, moderately high power-distance, moderately strong uncertainty-avoidance, high context Chinese culture. Hofstede suggests that when a trainer from a culture with the American configuration trains students from a culture with a Chinese configuration several problems are likely to occur. Specific examples are included in the text. In-depth interviews, lasting between two and three hours, were conducted with nine trainers working for eight American companies. The data were analyzed using an ongoing constant comparative method which produced evolving problem categories and themes. In the final analysis of the data, three major problem categories, each with several subcategories, emerged. The major problem category, Power and Authority includes problems dealing with, Bureaucratic Maze, Decision-making, Getting Things Done, Communication, and the Chinese system of Connections. The second major problem category, Training and Learning Problems describes problems pertaining to Language, Training and Learning Processes, Problem-solving, Technical Sophistication, and Selection of Trainees. The third major problem category, Work Attitudes and Behavior addresses problems relating to Motivation, Responsibility, and Work Habits. Using Hofstede's Dimensions of Cultural Differences and Hall's Low-High Context Communication Schema, a sample of the most salient problems are analyzed for cultural differences between Chinese and American culture. Hofstede's and Hall's theories identify various dimensions of cultural differences between China and the U.S. which potentially lead to problems in a training context. The research revealed several perceived problems common to trainers of Western companies in training Chinese from the People's Republic. This study concludes that many of these problems can be explained in terms of the cultural differences identified by Hofstede and Hall. Finally, recommendations are made concerning both design and implementation of more effective training for Chinese. Possibilities for future study are suggested.


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