It is often argued that when business persons of different cultures negotiate commercial deals, there is bound to be a culture clash. I disagree with this view. It is true that cultural differences influence business negotiations but with the appropriate approach to deal with the differences, culture clash is to be least expected in any business negotiations, especially with the Chinese. As Sun Tzu would advised in his book The Art of War “Know your enemy and know yourself and you will win all battles” (Sun Tzu 1913). According to Newstrom and Davis (2002) there are many striking differences across countries, just as there are some surprising similarities. Clearly, residents of each country have their own preferences for clothes, food, recreation, and housing. In his research about national cultures of sixty countries, Hofstede (1993) revealed that cultures differ in five key factors namely, individualism/collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity/femininity, and time orientation. Among these factors, the Chinese have the culture that value clarity and have the kind of orientation that accent values such as necessity of preparing for the future, the value of thrift and savings, and the merits of persistence. Literatures on different cultures also classify China as high-context culture which tends to emphasize personal relations, place value on trust, focus on non-verbal cues, and accent the need to attend to social needs before business matters (Newstrom and Davis 2002). Culture is very important in certain country such as China. Huntinghon (2000) as cited by Fellner (2008) defined culture as the values, attitudes, beliefs, and underlying assumptions prevalent among people in a society. He stressed that culture is dynamic, interactive, and synergistic, and intermixes with all the elements of the society such as business and economic development (Huntinghon 2000; Fellner 2008). Huiping (2009) stated in her article entitled Understanding Chinese culture leads to business success with China’s growing significance as an economic superpower, understanding the Chinese psyche becomes very helpful and useful in business negotiations management of supplier relations and many other business situations. As emphasized by Uthaisangchai (n.d.), Chinese history and culture has impact on the way they do business and each of the many elements of the Chinese culture has a role to play in today Chinese business world. In Hofstede’s (1980) theory of individualism-collectivism as cited by Jones (2009), the individualism and collectivism dimensions differs on the degree a culture is committed to an in-group such as extended family, company or village. In the individualistic society, people are less attached to an in-group (that is, people are more self-centered and in pursuit of their own self-interests). Meanwhile in the collectivist society, people are more attached to an in-group, that is the interests of the in-group come first. Jones (2009) also noted from Hofstede and Bond (1988) that such value of collectivism likely stems from a deep rooted, ingrained culture based on the traditional philosophy of Confucianism. Uthaisangchai (n.d,) gave emphasis of the teachings of Confucius in the development of the culture of Chinese. In the article entitled Connecting Confucianism, Communism and the Chinese Culture of Commerce, Keller and Kronstedt (2005) explained that Confucianism is a very important component of the Chinese culture. “In a Confucian society, everyone has a role to play, and the key relationship is built around the family… Chinese cultures value family connections and protecting relationships (saving face). Developing ‘family-like’ relationships takes time and patience, not merely a contractual deal based solely on money. If one has to do business in a Chinese culture, it is critical to understand and respect Confucian values”...
References: Keller, G. & Kronstedt C. 2005, ‘Connecting Confucianism, Communicsm, and the Chinese Culture of Commerce’. Journal of Language for International Business, vol.26, no. 1, pp. 60-75.
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