I have encountered Taiwanese businesspersons who do business
I have done ‘business’ with individuals in approx 20 different countries around the world. At this time I was based both in the USA and several times in other countries. I currently live in Taiwan and do business from here.
After 30+ years of this I can say that a person, or by extension a companys’, “ethics” are what enables them to continue in business.
First and foremost do they conduct their business in an honest fashion - Do they pay their bills?
Is this done in accordance to the agreed upon terms?
Do they honor agreements made with vendors/suppliers/clients?
Do they resolve conflicts or just ignore them?
Can they meet schedules for future work?
Does a company have good managerial and staff people?
Can they respond to needed changes or modifications of agreements?
and last, but not least, Is it enjoyable to do business with them? It may sound strange, but some companies are just a pain in the ass to do business with. Some companies leave you with a win-win attitude and a smile. Which one would you chose in the future?
This is some of the parameters in considering the “Business Ethics” of a company or individual.
This is based simply on good business practices. If a company has these, they will have good relationships in their marketplace.
My business with Taiwanese has been fine., so far. Every country has its rogues out to run their scam. Protect yourself and have both eyes open when doing business with new clients. Do your research. Establish your terms and get things in writing. Dis-agreements are a part of business. Resolution is an art in itself.
And sometimes, one has to realize its time to pull the plug and cut your losses. When you play the game, sometimes you lose. Thats just a fact of life.
I have no idea why you want to go off on a “Christian” rant.
A person or company can have good or bad business ethics/practices whether they are run by a religious person or a non-religious person.
I don’t think I have ever been influenced by a clients religion or lack of it. Its their reputation that counts.
Also, NEVER EVER do business with Nigerians over the internet.
This is a really loaded question. What’s the difference between business ethics and business practices? I presume that business practices is derived from a “code” of business ethics.
Where in a foreign country doing business one way versus another way, it gets complicated. Business practices differ and because it is done a certain way say in Taiwan which would never get done in the US (or is frowned upon and would be bad business practice), is it a sign that Taiwan business practices lack sound business ethics?
I think there are business practices that are company wide, it’s what TC says “enables them to continue in business”. Then there are individual business practices which are where you bring your own moral and ethical compass to the table in your daily dealings with another person across the table. I try to deal with the individual and have a similar list as TC’s when evaluating the plus and minuses of doing business with person X and to some extent company Y.
In one question TC asks, "Do they honor agreements made with vendors/suppliers/clients? " I’ve found the answer to be “no”. But it’s not where they’re out to scam you or defraud you; it is a “no” where the “agreement” is only as good until they (the Taiwanese opposite) feel to “re-open” negotiations or to “re-visit” previously agreed upon agreement because they feel that the situation has changed enough to “do another deal”. As a result, you can never establish a base-line, everything is constantly shifting like desert sand.
I find most Chinese (here or Mainland) will lie under any circumstances if there is a benefit (however small) to lying. They call this being practical. Telling the truth for its own sake is not a common practice.
The ‘face’ concept and lying are flips sides of one coin. What is important is the appearance of having done the right thing, not whether the right thing was done. This is why, when Chinese children do something Mother does not approve of, Mother will touch her forefinger to her face to say that this makes your face look bad (to other people). The mother will not say “what you did was wrong.” From 2 years old Chinese are taught this. This is how a Chinese girl explained it to me.
Societies without this face concept seem to have more honesty in daily life and business perhaps because the inside and the outside are integrated.
To speak of " ethic", Enron, WorldCom, Merck, Tyco, I can name more famous American-based international companies that cheated on their financial books.
Who can resist the greenback? I won’t say just Taiwanese do not have " ethic".
I even read an articles " European company holds more higer ethic standards than Amercian ones" cuz they don’t have frauds on their finanical reports.
Do not spit in the pool.
[quote=“Tomas”] The general idea is that though you may get away with cheating a customer while you are alive, you will pay a price for having done so when you are judged, after death. My hypothesis is that these sorts of motivations do not exist in this culture, that motivations for ethical business practices are almost entirely pragmatic.
** Long ago, I stopped believing that people who claim to be Christians would necessarily do business in an ethical manner. In fact, I often find the opposite to be true.[/quote]
When you are hungry you eat. When you feel an ethical impulse you act on it. Otherwise you feel crappy. This is what motivates decent people. The desire not to feel crappy. Perhaps you are just not accustomed to things being so simple.
[quote]In one question TC asks, "Do they honor agreements made with vendors/suppliers/clients? " I’ve found the answer to be “no”. But it’s not where they’re out to scam you or defraud you; it is a “no” where the “agreement” is only as good until they (the Taiwanese opposite) feel to “re-open” negotiations or to “re-visit” previously agreed upon agreement because they feel that the situation has changed enough to “do another deal”. As a result, you can never establish a base-line, everything is constantly shifting like dessert sand.
I have to agree with YC. This is one of the biggest problems in doing business in Taiwan-the moving agreement.
I think much of it is done purposefully. The favorite one is to agree to terms wait until the other party is so commited finacially, for example, they might have already put in place all the heavy equipment, financing, people on the ground and scheduled the project then the other party back pedals on the first agreement and starts the real negotiations.
Normally I try to defend Taiwanese in this place but on this one I find it pretty difficult. I described the scenario, that Fox describes, to my wife and she said “How are you going to defend Taiwanese on this. What they are saying is true.” I guess if you are doing business you have to plan for this by, for instance, keeping in touch with other suppliers. The other thing she said was that if you really make friends with the people you do business with they are less likely to take advantage of you. That certainly rings true in my limited experience.
Your wife is correct. Note that you said less likely to take advantage of friends, implying that Taiwanese people still will do so. That squares with my experience.