I have lived in Asia for 6 months now. I have blogged about management in Asia. I have learned that motivation is fundamentally different in this part of the world. I finally found someone who put it into words: soft power. More here and here.
If you do not understand this, you will not ever be successful in Asia. Period. I now understand it, but, I certainly have not mastered it. I have found that at times "carrots" work in Asia but, I do not think that "sticks" ever have an impact. Even worse, when you break out the "stick", you might as well hit yourself, because you will feel all of the long term pain of your stick.
China is a master at soft power. I do not think the US makes effective use of this in our international policy, which is why our approval ratings abroad are at an all time low.
By the way, I think the use of soft power is equally important in the US, however, at times, you can get buy with hard power. Hard power simply does not work in Asia.