Original Research

Perceptions of Chinese and Tanzanian employees regarding intercultural collaboration

Claude-Hélène Mayer, Christian M. Boness, Lynette Louw
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 15 | a921 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v15i0.921 | © 2017 Claude-Hélène Mayer, Christian M. Boness, Lynette Louw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 February 2017 | Published: 09 October 2017

About the author(s)

Claude-Hélène Mayer, Department of Management, Rhodes University, South Africa
Christian M. Boness, Department of Management, Rhodes University, South Africa
Lynette Louw, Department of Management, Rhodes University, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Chinese organisations have a long tradition of operating in Tanzania, and even today, Tanzania is the gateway for Chinese interests entering sub-Saharan markets.

Research purpose: The purpose of this article was to explore and understand the perceptions of Chinese and Tanzanian employees working in a private Chinese organisation in Tanzania.

Motivation for the study: The authors would like to contribute to the discourse on Chinese and Tanzanian collaboration in southern Africa to improve context-based intercultural collaboration from a human resource management perspective.

Research design, approach and method: The study used a case study approach within a hermeneutical research paradigm. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and observation in a selected private Chinese organisation. Data were analysed by content analysis using Terre Blanche’s five-step model of content analysis.

Main findings: The findings show that intercultural collaboration is a challenge for both Chinese and Tanzanian employees. Chinese employees share a mostly positive view of their organisation, while Tanzanians tend to be more critical. Members of both groups, however, feel that intercultural collaboration could improve if members of ‘the other group’ made recommended changes. Despite this, both groups adhere to their perceptions of ‘the other’ and maintain a favourable view of the self.

Practical/managerial implications: Chinese organisations need to create opportunities for the improvement of intercultural collaboration by reflecting on the self and ‘the other’ in terms of understanding thought styles, experiences, knowledge, and the impact of cultural values on collaboration behaviour. As such, cultural knowledge-sharing might contribute to a sustainable long-term intercultural collaboration.

Contribution: The study contributes to filling the gap of in-depth qualitative research on perceptions of Chinese and Tanzanian intercultural collaboration between employees in the field of human resource management in Africa.


Keywords

Chinese and Tanzanian employee perceptions; challenges in collaboration; synergies; intercultural perspectives; intercultural management

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