Culture Differences Vis-à-vis Establishing Company Subsidiaries: Taipei, Taiwan

Culture Differences

Culture Differences Vis-à-vis Establishing Company Subsidiaries: Taipei, Taiwan

Culture: Taipei, Taiwan

            Taipei is the capital and largest city of Taiwan, an industrialized country that has thrived economically throughout the latter part of the 20th century amid ongoing disputes on its independence with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Understandably, Taipei’s status within Taiwan makes it the country’s undisputable economic center, providing it with a cosmopolitan milieu that can best support corporate operations.  Therefore, corporations looking to establish their presence in Taiwan would definitely have to consider Taipei – setting up shop therein can gain them access to the country’s best amenities to support their operational needs (Chang & Lu, 2007).

            A closer look at Taipei’s cultural makeup, singling out factors that are most relevant for corporate considerations, is essential for corporations looking to do business in the city. Firstly, Chang and Lu (2007) noted that employees Taiwan, generally speaking, manifest behavior that are “internally targeted” in terms of control. Such denotes that Taiwanese employees, particularly those in Taipei, are typically oriented to deal with issues by controlling themselves, compared to how Westerners do it through controlling the environment (Chang & Lu, 2007).

Secondly, Taiwanese employees rely heavily from strong Chinese family-kin relations for emotional support. Chang and Lu (2007), however, further elaborated that too much interference by family members can actually stress them out. Thirdly, membership in workplace subgroups is seen by Taiwanese employees as a source of security within the workplace, although it also serves as a constraint at the same time.

Being part of a subgroup at an organization in Taiwan, especially in Taipei, may provide employees with easier access to the things they need for work. However, such can restrict them from specific actions throughout the course of their membership in the name of protecting the subgroup’s interests (Chang & Lu, 2007).

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Cultural Implications in Establishing Company Subsidiaries

            Given that human resource management (HRM) policies of organizations in Taiwan have inextricable links to culture (Sparrow & Wu, 1998), it is highly important to consider all the aforementioned cultural peculiarities with regard to opening a company subsidiary in Taipei, as well as hiring and managing staff for it. Firstly, in choosing Taipei as a new location for a company subsidiary, it is essential to design HR policies that adhere to the self-sufficient nature of Taiwanese employees.

An organizational culture that maximizes the orientation of Taiwanese employees on so-called “internally targeted control strategies” (Chang & Lu, 2007) can result to greater productivity, particularly in the case of team projects. Such, of course, is in line with Sparrow and Wu’s (1998) assertion that “understanding employees’ values is extremely important in today’s competitive business environment.”

Secondly, companies looking to open subsidiaries in Taipei should consider introducing family-friendly HR policies, which allows the organization to form close and transparent relations with family members of Taiwanese employees (Chang & Lu, 2007) – an example that understandably departs from the rather-individualistic Western cultural milieu, but nonetheless fit for the given context (Sparrow & Wu, 1998).

Lastly, HR policies that promote free expression, for as long as they aren’t antithetical to organizational values, must be promoted for subgroups within organizations to be influenced about the importance of maintaining their members’ rights to practice their autonomy responsibly. Membership in subgroups shouldn’t serve as an unnecessary constraint to their members’ actions (Chang & Lu, 2007; Sparrow & Wu, 1998). 


Chang, K., and Lu, L. (2007). Characteristics of organizational culture, stressors and wellbeing: The case of Taiwanese organizations. Journal of Management Psychology, 22(6), 549-568. Retrieved from

Sparrow, P., and Wu, P. (1998). Does national culture really matter? Predicting HRM preferences of Taiwanese employees. Employee Relations, 20(1), 26-56. Retrieved from

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