Hanlon Scholar Presents to Canadian International Council
Less than a week into the Year of the Dragon, Associate Professor and Hanlon Scholar in International Business William Murphy presented to the Canadian International Council (CIC) on Canada's relationship with China from a business perspective. The talk, titled Insights on Doing Business in China, brought Murphy’s own experience to the business opportunities there.
“Everyone’s aware of the opportunity,” Murphy says. “I’m bringing it to a personal level and talking about how the excitement should be there, but not misdirected; how to think reflectively the way you would with any other new market entry.”
Murphy says the widespread idea that now is a good time to do business in China is misleading. Rather, “now is a good time for any leader to consider whether or not it is a good time to do business in China,” he clarifies. “That requires business leaders to think carefully about their motivations and operational readiness to do business in China. Certainly China lures us with what seems to be the mountain of gold just awaiting us. This can be quite deceptive and lead to a slippery slope of real harm to our business.”
Before taking the step into China, business leaders should consider and prepare for the challenges executives will face, says Murphy. He has recently presented papers on such challenges, including “different perceptions that Chinese executives and Western executives have in terms of what happens during meetings, what happens in engagement and what the priorities are,” he explains. “The misunderstandings continue today despite so much literature in the market place cautioning executives about what they fail to understand about one another’s cultures.”
Dan Sutherland of the Canadian International Council says Murphy did an amazing job of covering the topic. “Dr Murphy was faced with a tall order: how do you get a message on the business challenges in China across to a mixed audience of veteran China watchers, business people looking into China and people who know very little about China?” he says. “But he distilled a great deal of information about today’s China into a very accessible picture.”
Murphy says he hopes attendants take away a feeling of pragmatic excitement from the presentation. “If they go back to their offices and think, ‘let’s take a look at China. Let’s take a good look, reflectively, and use the right metrics to assure the best chance for success’ then that mind shift should bode well for the people that are listening.”
And he says Canada seems to be on the right track in terms of creating business relationships with China. “Given what we know from recent work and recent press, our Canadian leadership takes China with the seriousness and the importance that it well deserves in today’s markets,” he says. “China is not nirvana for companies nor countries. It has numerous question marks about what its own future holds but our relationship with them must continue to grow at the most senior levels of our political space and at the most senior levels of our business world. It’s an opportunity that we all should be excited about.”