I found this well-written, concise article in the Salt Lake Tribune that highlights some of the cultural adaptation problems American managers who work in China encounter.
From the article:
The issue…is that the Chinese culture is so different from what Americans have experienced in life and in the workplace.
When people ask me if there are major cultural differences between Greater China and the United States, I usually reply with this: “They are two entirely different worlds. Humans need to eat, sleep, and work, but the similarities end there.” Managers heading for China would do well do keep a very open mind, and to avoid any major policy decisions until they get the lay of the land. They should also consider hiring a cross-cultural communications trainer with experience in Greater China to guide them through the mine fields.
This article is full of other gems that provide a brief overview of some of the major cultural differences between China and the West. I’d love to go through them but, as usual, I’m in the middle of 18 projects.