In one scenario, workers took management hostage from Friday morning until late Saturday night for instituting a policy limiting bathroom breaks to 2 minutes maximum and requiring employees to pay $50 yuan ($8) for being late to work once and fired if late twice. While I can understand a company's desire to get employees to work on time and making sure they are not taking excessively long breaks, these policies do appear to be a little harsh. However, I also do not think these policies are so harsh that they require aggressive action to the level of taking management hostage. Couldn't the open door policy, a grievance filing, or perhaps even mediation have been a better, more humane route? Then again, maybe this is easy for me to say. After all, I have never been timed before when going to the bathroom, and I am not sure I would be content being given only 2 minutes for a "number 2."
Sometimes the issues are more time-sensitive and makes the workers believe that immediate action is imperative. For example, there are times when a plant closes and the managers leave town (or the country) without notice - like a thief in the night. This leaves the employees with no job and no last paycheck for services already rendered. Thus, when it seems that management might be gearing up to make a run for it, it is highly possible that the manager will be captured and jailed in the office for possibly several days until willing to negotiate fair terms with the employees.
Not only is this an accepted practice, but at times local police will even come by and feed the managers to make sure they do not starve during their period of captivity! Such aggressive action in the U.S. would surely not be supported by the police. In fact, it would likely land a few over-zealous employees in a real jail for unlawful detention. So U.S.-based managers, before you get too fired up about one of your subordinates getting upset at your new policy and causing a stir to upper management or amongst the team, just think...it could be worse. Instead of merely causing a stir, you could be spending the weekend in the office against your will!