Trust, Knowledge Sharing and Innovation: A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Sino-German Collaboration (Kwok Leung, Lin Lu, Martin Högl, Miriam Müthel)
Sino-German business collaboration increasingly accounts for a significant part of both Chinese and German foreign investment. However, collaborating companies encounter many problems. Most critically, initial distrust among the business partners due to cross-cultural stereotyping and perceived values dissimilarity threatens knowledge exchange so that employees are found reluctant to share their unique knowledge. To increase innovation and performance in Sino-German alliances, it is thus important to understand the motivational drivers of knowledge sharing and to interpret the trust/distrust mechanisms in China and in Germany. For this aim, we explore cultural explanations for the differences between Chinese and Germans in their knowledge sharing motives and their processes of trust/distrust development and derive a joint model to depict intercultural knowledge sharing in Sino-German teams. The research project is funded by the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion in Beijing, which is a joint research funding initiative of the Deutsche Forschung Gesellschaft (DFG) and the National Science Foundation China (NSFC).
China became world’s third largest investor in 2012. The scope of Chinese companies’ foreign direct investments in the German market place grows steadily. In this research project, we delineate the soft side of Chinese companies’ FDI endeavors, and investigate Chinese managers’ leadership effectiveness in the German context. Due to high institutional, economic developmental and cultural discrepancies, Chinese leaders face serious difficulties in leading their German employees. To address this research gap, we explore Chinese managers’ indigenous understanding of leadership effectiveness and investigate German employees’ perception of Chinese managers’ leadership effectiveness. Based on our analyses, we formulate managerial implications for Chinese managers.
Continuously, employee surveys across the globe show the importance of respect at the workplace. In this vein, the ‘Great Place to Work’ (GPTW) initiative considers respect as one of the main pillars of work place attractiveness. While the most attractive companies seem to be characterized by high levels of respect in their inter-personal relationships, destructive and humiliating leadership is daily reality for many followers. To make it even more complex, interpretations of respect and disrespect are culture-dependent. In a joint research project with Michael H. Bond and Warren Chiu from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, we will investigate culture-specific interpretations and behavioral expectations related to respect and disrespect in leader-follower relationships in China and Germany. Furthermore, we will analyze how differences in these interpretations influence Sino-German leader-follower-dyads.