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Chinese Business Culture - Essay Example

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Many problems associated with the relationships between people of different cultures stem from variations in norms and values. Chinese business culture is unique taking its roots in the ethics of Chinese society: groups, education, hard work and commitment.
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Chinese Business Culture
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Chinese Business Culture

Accordingly, business culture of a particular country can be defined as a specific way of business relations existing between the members of a company influenced by national cultural values and norms.
National Influences Chinese business culture includes both conscious and unconscious national values, ideas, attitudes and symbols that shape employees behavior. The combination of Chinese language and religion creates a unique culture and traditions. At its deepest level, however, chinese business culture comprises a set of basic assumptions that operate automatically to enable groups of people to solve the problems of daily life without thinking about them. In this way, business culture is that which causes one group of people to act collectively in a way that is different from another group of people. Chinese business culture is influened by religious traditions including Taoism and Buddhism (Kenna, Lacy, 1994).
Language Language plays a dominant role in every culture as the main tool of communication. Language can be divided into spoken or verbal language and non-verbal language, which includes communication through gestures, touching and other forms of body language that supplement spoken communication. The official language in China is Chinese, but it has verious variation and dialects. Mandarin is the official spoken standard of language, but the variety of dialects (Shanghaiese and Cantonese) creates a difficulty to communicate with firms in different parts of the country. In many cases, the official language of business negotiations is English, but it is highly recommended for businessmen to find an interpreter in order to understand subtle nuances of everything during meetings. For instance, "without special study of Cantonese someone from Beijing cannot understand residents of Guangdong or neighboring Hong Kong" (Business Culture throughout China, 2005). It is important to note that Chinese businessmen rely on subjective feelings in forming opinions and solving problems, and a message or speech should be very concise and laconic.
Collectivism is a remarkable feature of Chinese business culture which has a great influence on manners and personal relations. High individualism is a general aspect of culture in the United States and Europe; low individualism is characteristic of a Chinese culture pattern. It includes extreme respect for age and hierarchy. The delegation of power is very limited with most power holds by managing directors. The manners of Chinese businessmen are based on the Confucian concept of the Superior man. "Such rituals prescribe how the Superior man should behave when dealing with other people (as a means of exercising self-control by directing his emotions in the right direction (Williamson, 2003, p. 5).
Face Expression or "Mian-zi" Some implications of 'face' for expatriate managers include the need for extreme caution and reflection in Chinese business communication. 'Face' can be put to good effect through displays of public recognition for exemplary accomplishments at work and more generally in the design of effective reward systems. Loss of self-control by a businessman through displays of anger and threats signal weakness and contributes to a loss of 'face' (Seligman, 1999).
Gestures Because of differences in traditions, customs, religions and related cultural features of a society, extreme care should be taken in selecting gestures that can convey ... Read More
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