Cross-cultural differences in firms vary from a country to another one. France and China are definitely interesting to compare because of their ways of running companies, often due to cultural reasons.
The hierarchical structure of a Chinese company does not really differ from a French one but their organization may be significantly different though. The Head of the company is considered a father for the employees and has to deal with every single issues, from the bottom to the top of the company scale. Everyone can directly talk to him when needed. This can be called vertical management.
As a matter of fact, the middle management has a lower role in the decision making: each employee can justify a decision by consulting the General Manager, without having to ask his manager.
The sense of doing a favour is extremely present in Chinese company: when a manager gives the possibility to an employee, for example, to attend a training, then the workers are expected to be faithful to his boss and to his company.
In China, the human resources dimension is rather recent as it has been taken into consideration since the 90s.
To make a decision, everybody in the firm has to give his opinion and to agree with the decision before definitely taking it, no matters his hierarchical statute, so the French expatriate will have to express his ideas too. However, the harmony between people and the importance of saving face requires to tell one’s mind but with understatements and moderation.
France and China have also totally different types of organizations which can be explained and echoed in every single aspects of life in these two countries (communication, relationships, sense of community, …).