Organizations meet different cultures when expanding their business to various regions around the world. The success of a business in an unfamiliar geographic location depends on their understanding of any local culture, which helps people effectively deal with business partners. China is one of the utmost lucrative markets in the world that have attracted many multinational organizations. Understanding and appreciating the local Chinese culture can help an organization appreciate local business as well as work with language and eliminate cultural barriers. Sometimes the management may experience challenges interacting with industry partners from a foreign nation but understanding their cultural background would eliminate such instances. Chinese and Americans have certain resemblances compared to cultural differences. These differences exist in every setting and accommodating the reasons for different behaviors leads to positive intercultural communication, satisfaction, and security.
Chinese have various religious principles that would affect an American enterprise seeking to do business in the region. The major religion in China is Daoism also known as Taoism, although some people follow other religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Taoism is the oldest religion in China and focuses on harmonious living with the Tao. Taoism does not focus on social order and rituals. On the other hand, Buddhism was introduced by Indian Monks. Chinese follow Confucianism though not strictly but it helps set beliefs and ethical values since it offers ethical and social-political teachings and Confucius that are essential to human bonding (Khairullah, & Khairullah, 2013). An American firm that intends to expand its business to China should adhere to religious believes of the people. If a business doesn’t augur well with the practices of the Chinese religious settings would not perform well in China.
Hierarchy is a significant aspect of family relationships in China. Chinese derive their values from Confucianism that insists on honor, sincerity, loyalty, and piety. Confucius was a Chinese philosopher who taught various cultural values such as social harmony, justice, and morality that helps in maintaining a peaceful society that supports social and family relationships. Currently the Chinese have a strict hierarchical family dominance where the eldest members are the most relevant (Khairullah, & Khairullah, 2013). Additionally, it is common for extended communities and large families to live in one home. Even in adulthood, children remain close to family and those who work far away should make regular visits since family is a high priority. Family being a significant role in their culture, someone employing Chinese they would need to expect frequent leave days, which could lead to business interruptions especially when they hold key positions in an organization.
China is founded on a socialism culture therefore the society is all about the group while Americans celebrate individualism. In America, individuals can shine while Chinese regard any achievement as a success of the entire organization, group, or family. As such, working with Chinese entails considering the effects of your actions on the group rather than only yourself (Khairullah, & Khairullah, 2013). Contrary to the Americans, Chinese treat their seniors differently. Elders are given highest respect in social and business settings. Additionally, Chinese honor even the dead (Khairullah, & Khairullah, 2013). Unlike Americans who expect their children to be independent and the parents and grandparents can live far away, and the separation is not considered a social issue. Contrary to the Chinese who celebrate older generations, the American organizations cherish the youths. An American organization targeting market expansion in China should consider blending various age groups in the workplace and ensure utmost respect to the elder people.
Americans like placing people in an environment to find common ground. As such, small talks favored by Chinese regarding age, income, and marital status would appear meddling and intimate to an American. Similarly, Americans can find language and tone used by Chinese at the workplace very uncomfortable. Chinese expect someone to think before talking since it portrays respect to those in higher ranks in the hierarchy. Contrary to the Americans who use direct communication, Chinese use an indirect style which would require American business partners to read various communication aspects between the lines. On the other hand, friendship is a significant issue in China. Chinese try to forge relationships, which American’s can utilize to develop business connections. Unlike in China, a friend is an obligation that would translate to do a favor if necessary. Trust is a significant issue before doing business. Contrary to the Americans who tend to separate personal life and work, Chinese tend to socialize to enhance relationships.
In urban areas, Chinese do not respect personal space. Due to high population, cities are crowded and much more polluted on public transport. Americans are territorial to physical space which could lead to snapping at those who push in line. In Chinese enterprises, people only release relevant information since the country has heavy censorship of the internet and media. Americans on the other hand, perceive access to information and freedom of speech as a significant aspect. As such, Americans embrace transparency and the corporate culture is more open. It can be difficult for Chinese managers to release important information to colleagues in an organization. Which is important for a international business to know because it would be essential to have an American who would control the flow of information to avoid conflicts.
Any smart business owner will do their research to make sure that wherever they are doing international business they understand the cultural needs to make sure their business is run smoothly.
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