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May 31, 2006

Shanghai Sachs Powertrain Components & Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation Training Center

These two organizations seemed to be a part of a large cog in an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds in China! It was interesting to me that in the Powertrain plant, the similarity the operation had with companies from the US in earlier years. (seemingly) Very little automation and much reliance on labor. It makes sense with the large amount of labor force that China has and how cheap it is. I was also wondering about why we weren't allowed to take pictures here? Not sure if it was because of the culture of a SOE type of company or because there was some type of process that was unique? I surely didn't see anything that seemed to be of significance. When we visited the Training Center, it was interesting that there were no students at the center. The people we talked with where instructors or management. With such a large workforce and need for training, I would think that this would be a bustling place! The classrooms and process seemed to be set up as a lecture type of format with the instructor showing things to the mechanics. It didn't seem to look like it incorporated a large "hands on" type of laboratory. At least if it did, we didn't see it. This was evidenced by the lack of tools, workbenches and what I think of as an "industrial arts" type of classroom environment you would see in the US. This probably fits with the Confucian type of teaching methodology vs. the humanistic/social constructivist type of setting.

I enjoyed Kyle's final presentation on the economics of China and his remark about the 200 different automakers that he came across?!? Are these all part of one big SOE, or do they compete with each other?

The other part that he talked about is the pollution issues in China. He discussed the number of coal plants and also the potential pollution that will occur when everyone in China has vehicles like elsewhere in the modern world. How will this effect their country and the rest of the world?
Another interesting fact. (sorry, not dealing with auto industry) China's population is something like 24% of the world population, but they only have 7% of the world's agricultural land! A couple of good books to read on this are Dr. Jared Diamond's; "Guns, Germs and Steel" (pulitzer prize) and "Collapse; How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed". He is an evolutionary biologist from UCLA with some interesting concepts on civilizations that have failed throughout history. He discusses in detail the modern Haitian/Dominican Republic, Rhwanda countries, and the ancient Mayan, Anastazi, Easter Island and Norse Greenland civilizations. A thought from the text: "what did the last Easter Island person think when he was cutting down the last tree on the island?"

Again, not totally relative to these two companies, but interesting thoughts nonetheless.

May 29, 2006

Xi'an Wealcomm Science & Tech/Siemens-China (Xi'an)

Visiting these two companies felt like we were back in the USA and looking at a new startup company (Wealcomm Science and Technology) and an established Fortune 500 company's branch office (Siemens).

At Wealcomm, I was impressed with the projection of work that this organization will be doing in China in the next few years. It also struck me that the CEO would take time to visit with us to share his vision of the company and explain some of the types of telecommunication projects that they were involved in. I'm not sure if I entirely understood, but one project sounded similar to the USA's data management upgrade that they did with the Social Security system a number of years ago. I can remember when I was doing some work with IBM, what a large undertaking that was for the US. With our population at about 225 million and China's at 1.2 billion, THAT is going to be a lot of work for people. I recently also read that in 2004, approximately 350,000 computer scientists, information technologists and engineers graduated from Chinese higher education institutions. That compares to about 140,000 in the US. The competition for these highly educated individuals has to be tremendous with the projected needs in these areas.

At Siemens, it was interesting to hear the story of German success as a Foreign Invested Enterprise working in a predominantly State Owned Enterprise environment. It was especially interesting to be in a conference room where some project management and design was in the works. Our Human Resource students really appreciated the candor and explanation of what Siemens was doing from an HR perspective for managing personnel and future projects. They also discussed the large growth of the rail system in China and how Siemens will be involved with design and implementation through its electronics area. (see the recent posting on the new Tibetan Rail system that was designed to allow free roaming for a rare antelope species.)

Other Technology Information
China Google
In Chinese. Kai-Fu Lee's site

May 26, 2006

China Emerging as World Power and Implications

In this entry area, I would like to discuss, sort through and otherwise leave information regarding how China is emerging as the main world leader.
The whole world knows about the size of China from many levels, particularly in its people. In my recent readings, (Piazza-Georgi, 2002) summarizes the significance of human and social capital relative to growth within an organizations framework. The tremendous growth that we are witnessing in China stems from many sources but particularly its human capital. Schultz's (1998) work also supports the ability to quantify this in terms of economic meaning. Challenges that I see with this for China and the world is how this will affect China ideologically. The history of China seems to lean toward empire solidification. Events that point to a coalescing of power at the top of the bureaucracy is Hu Jintao's appointment as head of the Chinese Military in the last 24 months. In recent days, the ousting of Shanghai Communist Party secretary Chen Liangyu (Washington Post) for alleged misuse of $1.5 billion of social security funds, shows that Jintao(Beijing) is exercising its political control over a geographical area that is a primary link tradewise to the rest of the world. It will be interesting to see how the Chinese media or other sources represents this (or doesn't) in the next few months.

Other areas of interest: The visit of top NASA officials from the US to China in order to solidify relations regarding Chinese-US space policy. Although this has not been publicized very much, this is a large step towards joint efforts. Particularly from the Chinese side of things. Again with fairly poor human resource/human capital systems in place, as the technology avails itself to ramp us this area, intellectual capital that has equalized within the systems may become imbalanced due to upgrading of use of human capital. How this capital is treated, controlled and potentially manipulated has ramifications on a global scale for the long term.


Chinese Organizations, Great Learning and Great Food!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What a phenomenal day! There is so much that we did today, that I’m afraid I will not do it justice when it comes to portraying it in this blog! Please, please, please feel free to add your thoughts, comments and opinions on what we did today and throughout our field study. I am just so thrilled with the group of people that are in this class! As I am getting to know all of you better, I feel pretty lucky and a little humbled with being with such wonderful classmates!

Topics that fascinated me today (in a very short summary) ranged from Eric’s questions/discussion relative to the history of Motorola during World War II, to talking with Liu (hotel assistant) about his education goals and desires relative to hotel management and tourism. There were so many things that we did today that I decided to divide it into a few different areas:

Again, if you wish to branch off from any of these topics, Go for it!! Xie, Xie! ( She Shay)

1. Discussion on the individual organizations that we visited today.
2. Discussion/reflection on the social interactions with each other and the places we ate and socialized at.
3. Discussion on the use of this type of communication within a “laboratory? environment. (personal interest ? )

Visits to Tong Ren Tang Chinese Traditional Pharmaceutical Company, Lenovo and Motorola University.

Although the chronology of these visits were changed from our itinerary, I think it worked out perfectly. It was interesting to learn about how two different organizations, in two different fields, have worked successfully within their own ideology in the same type of changing business environment. The choice of topics relative to these two organizations can also be very broad.

Tong Ren Tang Chinese Tradional Pharmaceutical Company

Professor De Zhang from Tsinghua University introduced us to Mr. Chin. (apologies for misspelling and the role of our presenter.)

Our presenter gave us an excellent overview of his company and the emphasis on its 600+ year history relative to the healing arts in China and how they continue to provide this within China and how they are growing globally. The presentation discussed the role that his company has in facing the challenges of the current business environment. I think we were all impressed at the tremendous role that this organization has relative to the health care aspect of China. How do you compare this type of organization with a major pharmaceutical company in the Western environment. I could almost visualize Dr. Broersma’s case from the previous day about how the World Health Organization tried to write a health care policy about China to give to the Chinese! How the two organizations view the giving of medicine and treating of illnesses come from very different historical perspectives!

From the positive chi side of these differences though, what an opportunity for the whole human race!

Blending Western Hippocratic/Greek and Eastern Confucian/Chinese medical philosophy seems to be a great opportunity from the simple aspect of pursuit of good health!

Our Lunch and Dinner!

Boy isn’t Ben indeed Super Ben (and Frank Wang) for hiring him!!
Kudo’s indeed for superb culinary experience’s yesterday. I will never forget the tastes, smells and experiences of these two meals.

When we walked into the restaurant and were met with such positive energy (is this chi?) from our waitress and her co-workers, I felt a true connection to this country and its people. A few of my favorite dishes: (please feel free to add the Chinese names)
The Shredded Potatoes
The Cabbage and Tofu (I think) soup.
The Chicken dish. Especially the Head (right Ellie ? )
Water Lily Vegetable. (what was it cooked in?)
And as always the tea. Although the tea at the pharmaceutical company was also outstanding! It probably has medicinal qualities that affected us for the day!
There are probably others that I have forgotten about, so again please feel free to add them on. Anybody up for putting a HRD 5496 International Field Study to China Cookbook together?

And then meeting Grandma and Grandpa at Dinner. I’m very sorry that I don’t remember the names or what the neighborhood was called that we visited, so apologies beforehand for this.


This was one of the most enjoyable experiences that I have ever had. First of all to be asked to come into this family’s home was such a humbling experience! I would suggest that anyone that visits Beijing somehow try to do this. This is when I would really like to be able to speak the language. Looking at the painting of our hosts and then seeing them together and making a meal for us was truly outstanding. To top it all off, to also be able to celebrate a birthday with one of our classmates, was again the best.

It would really be interesting to learn more about their personal history. Ben gave us a brief background relative to Grandpa’s role as a Director in the area during Chairman Mao’s day. It reminds me of how many things historically are lost just because they are not preserved. It was really nice to be exposed to an example of a Chinese family and the cross generational dimensions of their life.

Some of the Food Dishes for the day!

The Peapods!
The water lily vegetables (again, how do they cook this!) Wouldn’t it be fun to attempt it?
The Dimsung?
The Beer!
And last but not least the Cake. Where can we get the candles?


It was also fun seeing some of the night life along the waterfront that we visited after dinner. Some interesting discussions relative to social dimensions of the money coming into China. Anybody care to talk about the exploitation of women through the sex trade and internet in this area of the world?

The use of this communication.

Pretty much all of you are familiar with the use of Computer Mediated Communication. We all use e-mail, research the web, (play games) etc, on the web.

I am also interested in hearing your comments, ideas and suggestions on using this type of communication within a Learning Environment.

This Blog is meant to be an informal forum that allows for free a expression of thoughts relative to this class. As this class is very broad in terms of class members, backgrounds research interests, etc,. It provides kind of in class, out of class place that other deeper contextually learning may occur.

For your own instructional purposes, there are some excellent references to how to use blogs or wiki’s in your own classroom experience on the UThink U of Mn. Website. As I have time, I will also post some other important aspects of using these technology tools in a classroom environment. Another place that I would encourage a potential instructor who wished to use these more, is the Center for Effective Teaching Website, again at the University of Minnesota. The Preparing Future Faculty courses are excellent for providing a base in using these tools in the classroom.

Here are some reference sites;





Well onto a fun-filled adventurous day to the Forbidden City, Tiannmen Square and others!

Visits to Peking and Tsinghua Universities

Wed. Morning

We visited Peking University in the morning and Tsinghua University in the afternoon.

We received an excellent lecture by Dr. Formin Kong from the Ghongzoug School of Management, followed by presentations by representatives of the Ghongzoug Graduate School of Management.

Dr. Kong’s topic was “Economic Development and its Importance on IR/HRM in China.?
Some of his primary thesis points were aimed at a discussion on the labor issues relative to the tremendous growth in the PRC over the last 10 years.

He gave an overview of China’s growth rate relative to the United States, labor issues in China and wage ranges for the Chinese workforce.

Some interesting facts from my notes.(anyone feel free to add or correct)

GDP in 2005 is18.5% of the United States overall GDP
General Wage level in Beijing is $2,296
A CEO makes approximately$260,000 per year.
A Professor makes $40,000-50,000 per year.
A restaurant waitress makes 1000 RMD/150 US per month
A coal miner makes 10/RMD per day. 300/RMD per month.
There is 1 fatality per 2.81 million tons of coal mined.

He also lectured on the wage disparities in China, along with educating us on concepts of labor discrimination issues relative to gender, age and “Hukou?. Hukou is the policy related to where you are located and where you can find work. Example. Beijing Hukou needs to be employed in Beijing.

A couple of other interesting points were the gender discrimination attitude of advertising for positions in the work force. The blatency of biasness as exemplified by advertisements emphasizing height, looks and other physical attributes for secretarial positions.

We also had some interesting discussions relative to University of Peking MBA program and how they have programs for international and executive level students.

There seems to be a marketing push aimed at high level executives or people who can afford this type of customized programming. One of the main advantages that I can see is the connection/networking with educators who also have good “guanxi? with organizations that work with the university. These relationships may be able to allow business development.

An example of this was given by Dr. Wang and her work with Lenovo. When we reviewed the CPU assembly plant, there were different processes set up that were influenced by consultations with Tsinghua University.

In the afternoon we visited Tsinghua University and were welcomed by Professor De Zhang, the Chair of the Department of Human Resources and Organizational Behavior, School of Management. Dr. De Zhang gave an overview of the University and its relationship with State Owned Enterprises or organizations in China. He emphasized the historical aspects of organizations in China and the strong relationship with Tsinghua University relative to development and growth of these organizations.

We also received an interesting lecture on “Organizational Development in International Organizations in China? by Dr. Broersma and “Training and Development in Chinese Firms? by Dr. Xueli Wang from Tsinghua University. Dr. Broersma recommended two books to give us perspective of assumptions on working with organizations in China.

Beijing Jeep-Jim Mann
Mr. China-Tim Clissold

His lecture primarily discussed the differences between Western and Eastern ideology relative to assumptions and working with organizations in China.
He discussed some of the failures and successes. Of particular interest to me was his review of the Architectual Firms (Herzog and DeMeuron Architekten AG, Switzerland) in working with the China Architecture Design Institute who collaborated on the design of the Olympic National Stadium nicknamed the “Birds Nest?. http://www.china.org.cn/english/2004/Jan/84895.htm

Dr.Broersma also spoke to some of important aspects of working in China for organizations such as the concepts of “face?, and discussed some of the policies and challenges of the current US administration in working with Chinese leadership.

Dr. Xueli Wang then gave a lecture on key factors for Human Resource Development in
“Training and Development in China.?

(I was getting a little tired here, so anybody with better notes or memory, please add these to this entry. ? )
Three key factors that were summarized.

1. Western culture in the peoples perspective and value differences. Key performance indicators were reviewed relative to training and development.
2. Family Planning Issues. The one child families are starting to be employed and the social, motivation and psychological differences of these children affect how training and education are presented. Dr. Wang cited some statistics from her research of an 18,000-20,000 sample relative to this key factor.
3. Education System Reform- The bargaining power and social adhesions? Relative to major redesign of the system.

Dr. Wang also discussed some concepts relative to amount of money that organizations spend on Research and Development (2-3% of payroll) and effect on Chinese companies.

After the lectures, we had a nice Peking Duck dinner that revived us. We were all pretty tired and our tour guide “Super Ben? rallied us with an evening walk around the eastern side of Tian’anmen Square. It was nighttime, so it was quite impressive in terms of size and brilliance.

May 25, 2006

We are in China

May 23, 2006

We are in China! We arrived at our hotel at about 11 p.m.last night after travel time of almost 18+ hours.

This place is amazing. We took a little walk due to some jet lag around 6 a.m and saw the city start coming alive. People in Beijing use the bicycle quite a bit and are very resourceful with transportation. I saw one dressed up fellow who had a stack of shoes on his bike and he looked like he was going to work with them. Another man had a propane tank and other miscellaneous material that he was going to work with.

We have an eclectic group of people ranging from backgrounds of adult literacy/English professors to undergraduate students that are finishing up their schooling and considering grad school or transition to the work world.

The flight is long but I can already tell it is well worth it.

A couple of interesting facts so far about Beijing.

The city itself is so large that you could fit the country of Belgium in it.

There is a huge infrastructure transition occurring. You see people on cell phones working at 10 o’clock at night while mixing cement by hand and using bamboo scaffolding for preparing the structure of the building.

Beijing is laid out in a grid and it seems pretty easy to get around in terms of directions.
However, depending on the time of day, it can take quite awhile to get to your destination due to traffic congestion.

Where we will be visiting gives us a sense of perspective as outlined by one of our guides Ben.

Beijing is the present, (political center of China)

Xian is the past. (history of China)

Shanghai is the future of China.

May 20, 2006

Website Link and Final Prepartions

I finally was able to get the website loaded onto the UofMn server for my work that I have done to date for this class. Here is the link. http://www.tc.umn.edu/~kenny043/HRDChinaStudy/HRDChinaStudy/UMHRDChpg1.html

Please feel free to make comments/suggestions or express other your own ideas that you may want me to add to this website.

I just received the syllabus for the course today and although it looks pretty academically rigorous, I am interested in hearing about other classmates topics along with all the places that we will be visiting. I think the important thing as always is to stay flexible with my thinking and try not to get to get too anxious about all the prep work both trip and course wise that needs to be done. Here are a couple of interesting links from a classmate. Feel free to post any interesting sites that you may find also!







May 9, 2006

Thoughts for the day

Count down to departure is approximately 2 weeks and some change! I've been busy finishing up classes for the semester, so it has been hard to put anything down regarding the trip to China.

I have been doing much planning and thinking about the trip. Yesterday, I had a nice visit with Mary about some of the things that she has been researching. She told me about the first emperor of China, (Chin?) who pulled together all the different warring feudal states at the time, to make the China of approximately today. Fascinating! She also talked about the terra-cotta soldiers and how these were built by this man because of his belief that in the after life, he would need an army to protect him against his enemies that had died (by his orders!) before him. This all took place some 2500 years ago! I would definitely like to learn more about his regime as I enjoy history.

I missed our initial meetings with Dr. Yang and Dr. Park, but I have been trying to stay in contact with people about any things that we need to be sure we do. I have also been reading my textbook, which is very interesting relative to the changes that have occurred in Human Resource Development in China in the last 10 years or so. The discussion on the HR Management Strategies and practices relative to FIE in the PRC (1996 study) gives us a summary relative to HR and FIE's functionality. One of the summaries that emerged was that FIE's that use quality as a function enter into a liaison with basic human resource functions. Also how FIE's are "mixing internal and externally focused strategies and taking a long term, developmental approach to the training and development of staff to fulfill the quality enhancement strategy."

As a side note, I am having trouble understanding what FIE's actually are? Are they organizations that are Chinese based? External org's? Blended? I have read sporadic information regarding the desire for Chinese nationals wanting to work in these rather than other companies? I'm not sure I understand the effectiveness of this or why? Is it similar to working for say the state of Minnesota as a government employee vs. working for a private company? Is this an example of Chester Barnards' paradox? "all people must cooperate, but cooperation is unstable'?

As adult educators and human resource development people, this is interesting because of the way organizations look at development. In one of my classes this last semester, we discussed how to look at organizations in different frames: Structure, Human Resource, Cultural/Symbolic and Political. This focus on quality with FIE's seems to be a strong fit with the HR frame and lends perspective for the other three frames. Although the other three frames can also be helpful in understanding events, problems or issues relative to organizations. It will be interesting to apply these frames and thoughts as we learn more about different organizations on our trip.