First Year, Second Year

In September of 1984, I arrived at Xiamen University in Fujian Province, China. As happy as I was to be in this beautiful and fascinating place—and I was happy—the trouble started immediately.

I’d been teaching since my first gig as a graduate student 1966. I thought I knew students, and I wasn’t above playing it for laughs. So why did I see all these expressionless faces? I thought the kids must have been so abused by the system that they couldn’t react normally. After about two weeks they started to thaw out, and I realized having to deal with a … Read More

Lady Luck Helps Make Changes, Part 2

In 1994 I interviewed my friend Klaus about his experience as a German executive connected with a Korean company.

Klaus’s story

Frankly, I don’t know how everything worked out so well. I’m just grateful that it did. But I can tell you how I proceeded. I was very lucky, but I also had a sense of direction. Right from the from the beginning I realized that before I did anything I would have to spend some time checking out the workplace and the people working for me and with me. So I walked around the factory and the office asking … Read More

Lady Luck Helps Make Changes, Part 1

I interviewed my friend Scott in 1994 about his experience as an American executive connected with a Korean company, where he immediately ran into some major cultural differences between Western and Korean society. In 1997 when the Korean won fell flat on its face, I wished the interview had also included his skepticism of the economy. Some of this interview appears at the end of the post on the Korean women’s movement.

Scott’s story

My company in the States sold several licenses—one package—to a Korean company which was supposed to be established over a period of five years. Its primary … Read More