CHINA
TEAMS & DIVERSITY
 
 
 
 
 
 

DIMENSIONS OF WORKFORCE DIVERSITY

AGE
China's age distribution is as follows:  0 -14 Years:  25.01%; 15 - 64 Years: 67.88%; 65 and > years: 7.11%.  With the majority of China's population falling into the 15-64 age range, it represents one of the best labor populations in the world.  China's population exceeds over 1 billion people.
GENDER
China's gender distribution is as follows: 0-14 years: 166,754,893 males to 151,598,117 females; 15 - 64 years: 455,222,858 males to 418,959,646 females;  65 and over: 42,547,296 males to 48,028,480 females.
LANGUAGE
The languages that are most prevalent in China are as follows: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects.
RACE
The ethnic group distribution is as follows:  Han Chinese 91.9%, Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongoi, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities 8.1 percent.
RELIGION
China is a country with great diversity of religions, with over 100 million followers of the various faiths.  The most prevalent religions are Buddism, Islam, Christianity and the Naxi people. 

 

CASE STUDY

     At the 3com's factory in Illinois, there is are 65 flags which represent the origin of the people who have worked there since its inception in 1995.  The plant employs 1,200 people with the vast majority of the people being immigrants who speak 20 different languages.  The managers of the plant are typically the most educated and are the most fluent in English.  The managers have found that the best way to communicate with the foreign workers is to find someone who speaks the language of the foreigner to translate the directives.  The company has also found that the most effective way for the groups to work together is to group teams with a common language.  This is especially helpful with assembly line type of work.

     The organizational structure of the firm, or the heirarchy is based largely on language ability and background.  Heavy emphasis is placed on the ability to speak English and level of education.  However, in spite of 3Com's efforts to intergrate all of the workers, there are still problems based on cultural differences of the workforce.  Management must consider cultural backgrounds when reprimanding a subordinate.  For example, if  a supervisor reprimands a Chinese subordinate in front of his coworkers, this could have dire consequences, because of the Chinese beliefs of face value.  Therefore, 3Com has done extensive research on each of the countries represented in its workforce to determine the best method for compensation, displine and incentives.
 

Sources:  Deresky, Helen, International Management (Prentice Hall 2000) p362-363.
Central Intelligence Agency, “The World Factbook – China” http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html (21 Jan. 2002)
China Executive Planet, www.executiveplanet.com