Most of what happens within companies is directly or indirectly related
to things that are happening outside. Companies can be regarded as
cognitive spaces. Employees of a company are people, and people have
multiple inclusions in many other spaces, apart from the inclusion in
their company.

Examples are easy to think of: families, asssociations, schools, universities,
etc., are all spaces. Most employees of a company are also included in a
family space, their own family. Most of them have been educated in at
least one school, many several. Graduates from the same school share
an inclusion in the space of 'graduates of . .'

When several employees of a company share such an external inclusion,
this can be an occasion for forming a configuration within the company.
To mention another example: employees commuting together tend to talk
shop during the trips to and from work, this easily leads to a friendship
network that can influence the way its members behave, solve problems, etc.

Complexity in organizations
Simple configuration: A and B share an inclusion outside the company
(right circle); this leads to them forming a configuration within the
company (left circle)

In this respect organizations, like companies, are mirrors of the society in
which they operate. This applies to all cultures, but is especially prominent
in a communitarian culture like the Chinese. The most typical feature of
Chinese culture in this respect is:

Chinese do not feel they have fixed singular identities; identity is a product
of a social relation. This means that in interaction with different people, a
Chinese will take on a (slightly) different identity (see Peverelli's publications
on his university site).

Because of this feature of Chinese culture, a stakeholder analysis of your
China project is even more necessary than in a Western environment.
Without a proper stakeholder analysis, you cannot fully understand the
Chinese organizations and individuals you are dealing with. A lack of
insight in this respect is probably the single most important reason that
negotiations between Western and Chinese parties can take years before
tangible results appear, and why so many of the never even reach that stage.
It is also the prime cause for the fact that a large number of Sino-Western
cooperative ventures are dissolved prematurely.