Chinese Business Culture Notes

This series of notes will talk about the important aspects on Chinese Business Culture and the key concepts.

Culture and business

Why does culture matter? Miscommunication, misunderstanding, inappropriate behavior Definitions Group differences; attitudes, beliefs, values and norms; thinking, feeling and behavior; ‘sticky and difficult to change’; ‘macro environment and tradition’

China is very different from the West (especially Anglo-America) in: power distance, individualism, indulgence and long term orientation

China is a hierarchical society China is a collectivist society Chinese are long-term oriented Chinese tend to suppress their desires for fun

Hofstede’s six-dimensioned model Power distance: social norms about power distribution, hierarchy, interpersonal relation, decision-making Individualism v collectivism: closeness, group-orientation; interpersonal relation, behavior Masculinity v femininity: assertiveness, toughness, competitiveness, success, wealth and material possessions Uncertainty avoidance: unstructured situation, tolerance of risk, behavior, belief Long v short-term orientation: time horizon in decision-making, the importance of future vs. past and present, behavior Indulgence v restraint: the extent to which people control their desires and impulses in enjoying life and having fun. Optimism/pessimism, positive/negative, leisure time, saving money

Redding’s list

Societal order Hierarchy Reciprocity and personalism Control Insecurity Family based collectivism Knowledge

Ambler and Witzel’s 3 key aspects


Renqing Mianzi Other important features Familism Moderation or Mean Harmony Thrift Huanxu, Didiao, Tinghua