Schouten China is part of Schouten Global founded by Schouten & Nelissen. It is the European market leader in soft skills, team performance and leadership development. (

During this dinner-meeting we wanted to find out whether a Dutch company with Dutch training methods would fit in the Chinese culture. We spoke with the general manager Ton Dijkzeul, who just started his new job in April 2018. He is the former managing director of GITP, a Dutch company with organizational psychologists.

We learned that a lot of Dutch training methods do work in China. For instance, they use RET, leadership skills and action learning. Schouten China works with a team of own and freelance Chinese trainers. Ton expresses that good trainers are very seldom and freelance Chinese speaking trainers can ask a European daily fee of 2,000 Euro and sometimes even up to 3,000. It is also hard to keep their own trainers connected, because most trainers move on after two years working with Schouten and start their own business which is quite usual for Chinese companies.

The struggles they meet is that it is hard for the management of the companies to involve in the development programs. Another common practice is that HR-managers attend the training sessions and are taking notes in the back of the room. So psychological safety is at stake. A third challenge is the shame culture in China. People really don’t like mistakes, but for learning it’s necessary to try a new behaviour and be willing to experiment.

Schouten in the Netherlands do also have an e-learning company called New Heroes ( Customers are interested, but during implementation they also run into practical problems. Especially most blue-collar workers don’t own their own PC. Schouten is now thinking to innovate the e-learning platform into a mobile platform to reach the Chinese market.


Why did Schouten decide to go to China 11 years ago? China is an upcoming market with great potential and a lot of employees. Schouten China is not really a cash cow for Schouten and for now they are quite happy how things are working out.