Research Paper on Chinese Business Culture

7 pages
1868 words
Wesleyan University
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Research paper
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1. Chinese Business Norms/Expectations

Apart from being one of the most industrialized nations on the globe, China is also ranked as one of the leading global companies. Despite having a high population of approximately 1.4 billion people the nation has been successful in maintaining the unemployment rates at a significantly lower level, 4.6%, and an approximated 7.8% growth of its economy for five consecutive years (The Heritage Foundation, 2017). Therefore, it is evident that the nation has adopted some significant steps (key among them being the business ethics) that play a vital role in enhancing its economic development. Before going to China to take charge of the business, it would be crucial for one to ensure that he/she is aware of the nations business expectations/norms. These include face-saving, the building of relationships, fulfilling the reciprocity expectations and uphold of respect for hierarchy, as well as maintenance and trust ethics.

Upholding the Respect for Hierarchy and Fulfilling the Reciprocity Expectations

Business operation in China is usually centered on the doctrine of Confucianism, which dictates the moral ethics that should be upheld for interpersonal relationships as well. While making sure that interpersonal relationships are upheld, the Chinese make sure that respect for hierarchy is maintained (Sebenius & Qian, 2008). Therefore, they ensure that the hierarchical order of an organization is maintained as they conduct business meetings. For instance, recognizing the junior members of a company before the senior ones would be considered as an impolite act and might even jeopardize the organized business deal. As part of their tradition, the Chinese believe that their business should always strive to improve the welfare of the societal members. They use the term guanxi to signify the trust-based and the nature of the reciprocal relationships between them and the people (Sebenius & Qian, 2008). Hence, the businesses have to make sure that they give back to the society by embracing their corporate social responsibilities, which play an integral role in advancing the welfare of all society members.


Every business in China has to maintain its social standing lian or face for it to succeed as anticipated. Face-saving also includes making sure that the business upholds the moral dictations of the society. Therefore, people in business have to maintain a high level of personal integrity and a good reputation that would make them look respectable among the community members (Sebenius & Qian, 2008). Failure to so would lead to extensive criticism from the societal members, thus, resulting in an unconducive environment for business operation, which would ultimately lead to business failure.

Building of Relationships

The Confucianism doctrine is centered on building of relationships, more so interpersonal relationships. The Chinese believe that businesses are not built as a result of interactions between organizations and the people. Instead, the excellence of a business is founded on the nature of relationships between people (EU SME Centre, 2013). As a result, Chinese believe that they transact business with their fellow citizens and not with companies. Therefore, a businessman has to make sure that he builds good relationships with the societal members, which would act as the cornerstone of the business. Usually, business relationships in China are divided into two; impersonal relationships and warm friendship (Sebenius & Qian, 2008). Warm friendship is used as a platform for building relationships with their colleagues. On the other hand, impersonal friendship is used as the basis of forming relationships with the foreigners. Sebenius and Qian note that the Chinese would recognize a newly-met foreign business partner as an old friend. However, if the partner fails to appreciate the acknowledgment, the Chinese feel that he/she might not be unwilling to form an interdependent relationship. In such a scenario, the Chinese business men would not hesitate to adopt stringent measures in the business negotiations.

To sum it all, after relocating to China, one would need to make sure that he/she is fully aware of the business norms/expectations to ensure that his/her business succeeds as would be expected. In China, one would need to identify the essence of business. As mentioned earlier, the Chinese believe that they transact businesses with the people and not organizations and, hence, the investors have to make sure that they build good relationships with the people. Additionally, the businessman must always maintain a high level of personal integrity, which is one of the moral dictations of the Chinese culture. It is also paramount that the entrepreneurs realize that every business has a corporate social responsibility and, thus, they should always make sure that they should give back to the society at all times. By doing so, the business growth would assume an upward trend as the Chinese believe that one should do to other what he/she would expect other to do to him/her.

2. Expectations of Chinese Workers

The success of every organization is largely dependent on its managers and employees as they are key stakeholders who are directly involved in the production activities. To ensure that the business performance is above par, the employees and the managers must have a good relationship, which would enhance the creation of a healthy business environment. Also, the managers play the critical role of making sure that everything runs as expected and in case a problem emerges, they are mandated to offer directives to the junior employees on what should be done to make sure production activities resume as usual. Therefore, it is evident that managers play a essential role in enhancing the success of a business and, hence, the reason why the junior employees rely on them (managers) in every production activities. In China, the workers have some expectations for their leaders and managers, which include having a sense of autonomy, having the potential to offer directives, and being capable of creating harmonious relationships with the employees.

Having a Sense of Autonomy

In leadership, autonomy refers to the potential of being capable of making independent decisions. The Chinese workers expect that their leaders to make decisions on their own, hence, they prefer the authoritative leadership style (Silzer & Dowell, 2009). In such a case, the leader does not give the employees and chance to air out their views on what should be done or in formulating the primary objectives of a proposed policy. Instead, the leader formulates the policies, determines the procedures of meeting the intended goals, and even directs all the activities without any reliance on the subordinates. In such a case, the employees feel that it is the duty of the managers to take charge of the team without giving them any powers o do as they would like. As a result, the manager is in a position of making sure that everything runs as expected, the desired goals are achieved within the set time limits, and that all procedures are followed as required. Furthermore, the Confucianism nature of the Chinese society denotes that the community holds the hierarchy of the organizations with esteem, which implies the main reason why the employees follow the leaders dictations without any reservations.

Having the Potential to Offer Directives

Apart from making the decisions, leaders are also mandated to guide their subordinates. The Chinese believe that their leaders should provide instructions in each situation and, thus, the main reason why they prefer the authoritative leadership style (Nie, 2017). As mentioned in part one, the Chinese embrace the Confucianism doctrine of running the society, which is highly centered on the nature and essence of relationships. As a result, the Chinese community tends to be more inclined on the principle of upholding respect and the hierarchy of their institutions, thus, the reason they depend on the managers for guidance on what to do at any point. Additionally, they tend to uphold the social relationships between them and hence, they always follow the managers direction without any hesitation. By providing guidance, the leaders are also in a position to build confidence among their subordinates, which plays a critical role in making sure that every activity within the organization is carried out well and the results are above par.

Having the Potential to Create Harmonious Relationships

The success of any organization is founded on the nature of the relationship between the employees and the managers. In China, the workers believe that the leaders should be capable of enhancing harmony among employees, which aids in the creation of a healthy working environment (Gallup, 2008). The maintenance of harmony also makes it easier for the leaders to reprimand the employees once they do something wrong without the employees having a feeling that the management would be subjecting them to inhumane treatment. Also, the employees can work as a team and, thus, make sure that the stipulated objectives are attained within the set deadline.

In conclusion, the Chinese workers expect a lot from their managers and leaders. To start with, the employees expect that the leaders should have a sense of autonomy and, thus, the main reason they prefer the authoritative leadership style. Also, the employees anticipate that their leaders should have the potential to provide directives in each situation, which acts as a measure of guaranteeing that everything is run as expected. Finally, the workers expect that their leaders should be capable of creating a harmonious relationship among them, which plays a crucial role in the creation of a favorable working environment.

3. Chinese culture and values I need to be aware of being a successful manager

In China, to be a successful manager one must understand the concepts of guanxi which are core in the Chinese society, thus, influencing business performance. Guanxi is a firmly entrenched system of personal connections, networks, relationships, and contacts. The promotion of guanxi is driven by the fact that it is taken as a form of social capital rather than something casual like exchanging enterprise cards or sharing a meal. In this light, it is evident that creation of relationships occurs over time and is based on reciprocity and trust. This makes it common for an employee in China to make contacts with them when making job transfers as the guan xi is centered on an individual and not the company. Also, competitive information on trade among a guan xi network can be considered acceptable in some cases.

The concept of face is another factor that I will need to understand to succeed as a manager in China. The face concept is described as a mix of public views, self-esteem, and social role that are capable of either building or destroying business relationships. In this light, it is important to note that as a foreign manager I can give face by accepting invitations, showing sensitivity to Chinese culture, attending meetings, and by providing suitable worthy gifts. Moreover, it will be vital to understanding that as a foreign manager I can lose face by declining invitations, insulting someone in public or behaving in an awkward manner which may include losing temper.

Another essential value in China is that of Confucianism which influences practices of business where all relationships are considered to be unequal. In this regard, it is significant to show respect to seniority, aged and those with an outstanding education background (Lau, 2014). As a manager, therefore, I will be supposed to understand that management style should be directive which...

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