Chinese Culture - Westerners Doing Term Paper

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Confucianism is not followed in strength. The modern context of this ancient philosophy was enquired into first by Max Weber. The conclusion was to include it into one of the world's major religions and it is "least conducive to capitalist development. East Asians, for their part, began to condemn this venerable tradition as they deepened their knowledge of contemporary things" (Bell; Chaibong, 2003, p. 361) in a nut shell, the dialect of Confucius actually defined as the e "Confucius the Man" is an inseparable part of the theory of Chinese philosophy and is a part of their culture which is relevant to any modern interaction. (Bell; Chaibong, 2003, p. 361)

According to the theories of this school of philosophy, the worlds are sustained by the three ultimate, the sanji or elements called the universe, heaven, and earth. Heaven and earth form the basis of human actions and i-ching or the Book of Changes introduces the ying and yang the way of heavens, and the way of humans being righteousness. The metaphysical world in which we live and act is where we organize our behavior for our and the community good. (Yao, 2000, p. 22)

Stereotype of Chinese and American manager

The average westerner has a stereotype of the Chinese as a heard type of person with the individual having no say. In a study by Franz Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner in found that the French in comparison with the Chinese are more group oriented when it comes to specific issues related to the work as a group. Similarly the Italian groups took the responsibility of individual dereliction than did the Chinese. The Chinese have a very long history in business in the old world and take pride in their business acumen and thrift. The western thinking still holds on to the stereotype Chinese in the role of follower, or just a spoke in the wheel. The Chinese are as individualistic ad any westerner and respect their thousand years of culture and tradition. There are many Chinese leaders and managers who work for the western companies. The creation of a barrier without understanding and segregating the Chinese into stereotype followers creates a 'management-by-stereotype' which will not be reflective to the advancement of the staff in the companies. (Dodson, Whither the Groupie?)

Practical example of westerners doing business in China (management and leadership

John Thornton the president of Goldman Sachs went to China and became a member of the board of two state-owned companies. His experience in being one of the directors Ford and Intel helped him in taking modern methods of management to China. His mission is to bring the best in the western corporate governance and management to suit the Chinese workplace. Thornton with this aim in mind began a training program at the Tsinghua University Beijing' which gave him the opportunity to reach the position he now occupies. Now on the board of China Network Communications he also has a significant post at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China -- ICBC and at China Netcom. He oversaw the creation of a corporate governance committee, the first step to China's transition to a modern economy preserving the legacy at the same time. (Inside China's board-level revolution, 2007)

The bigger enterprises that embrace this model will be a follow able example for the smaller enterprises in China. According to Thornton the Chinese have now adopted the western ways and the government is very much aware of the requirement of a proper system for corporate governance and functioning. The formulas of wealth creation are also slowly permeating the economy. Chinese government controls all companies. It is likely to remain that way for quite some time. The communist party is unlikely to create an entirely free enterprise, but within the framework may be willing to implement the policies suggested by Thornton. "And that's not going to change anytime soon," says Thornton. (Inside China's board-level revolution, 2007) "We could conceptualize the government as the majority shareholder in all these companies." (Inside China's board-level revolution, 2007)

The Communist party is not going to give this up, but it wants corporate governance within this reality. At Netcom, fewer than half the board members are party appointees and it was Thornton who created the structure at Netcom to nominate and approve the CRO and CFO with appropriate methods of functioning that involved the stake holders and unions. In the case of the bank, the bank is now functioning on international models. Thornton is of the opinion that the Chinese companies are loath to list in the U.S. markets because of Sarbanes-Oxley Act which is more factual than the somewhat lax methods of Hong Kong or London markets. John Thornton is a great example of the positive interaction of the American with the Chinese and achieving a win-win situation. (Inside China's board-level revolution, 2007)


To the American there are many intangibles that are present in the eastern hemisphere. While the American way of life is well-known and criticized or admired in the rest of the world, the average American does not know anything beyond the borders and the knowledge is limited to the stereotypes that are learned from the peers. To the businessman this is not enough especially when there is a possibility of a long-term association with an Eastern nation. The eastern culture which we can define as a way the people view career, prosperity and business and the moral values all along with the back ground make up the needs of the relations. The fact that America is an individualist nation in contrast with China the Maoist country where collectivism is predominant must not be lost sight of. What the manager requires on the embarking into a venture in to China is a through re orientation program that could make him or her aware of the culture of the country where they will be spending their working time. One heartening example from which others can learn is the achievements of John Thornton. Thornton is a model of the American business man who has adjusted an imbibed the Chinese culture and progressed satisfactorily to earn their respect and admiration.


Bell, Daniel a; Chaibong, Hahm. 2003.Confucianism for the Modern World. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, England.

Bjerke, Bjorn; Elgar, Edward. 1999. Business Leadership and Culture: National Management Styles in the Global Economy. Cheltenham, England.

Christopher, Earley, P. 1997. Face, Harmony, and Social Structure: An Analysis of Organizational Behavior across Cultures. Oxford University Press. New York.

Dodson, William R. Whither the Groupie? Part 3 of a weekly series entitled, the Bamboo Ceiling: Managing Chinese Employees beyond Stereotype. [Online]. Available at[accessed3 April 2008]

Lee, Yueh-Ting; McCauley, Clark R; Draguns, Juris G. 1999. Personality and Person Perception across Cultures. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, NJ.

N.A. (2007, Feb) Inside China's board-level revolution. The McKinsey Quarterly, [Online]. Available at[accessed3 April 2008]

N.A. (n. d.) Individualism vs. collectivism. [Online]. Available at[accessed3 April 2008]

Tracy, Karen. 1991. Understanding Face-to-Face Interaction: Issues Linking Goals and Discourse. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Hillsdale, NJ.

Yao, Xinzhong. 2000.…[continue]

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