What Chinese managers think about their Western colleagues -and the reverse


Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 5.47.16 PMThis past week we have celebrated the Chinese New Year of the Monkey. It has also been a week of strong turbulence in the capital markets, caused by different factors, one of those being the uncertainties on the growth of the Chinese economy, a view that I don’t share. I serve on the board of two Chinese business schools, Jiao Tong University Business School in Shanghai and Renmin Business School in Beijing, and my opinion is that the Chinese economy rests on solid pillars for a sustainable growth in the future.

Today, however, I would like to share with you the results of an exercise that I have developed over the past decade. Every year I ask to Chinese and Western managers what are their views on the cultural characteristics of their counterparts while doing business. Below is a summary of those comments. The results are very interesting, even funny, and they show that there are more things in common than those that separate us. Furthermore, it is also revealing that many of the comments are reciprocal, and my experience is that they disappear when you study in depth the other culture or do business with their members.

The purpose of publishing this list is to show that many generalized views on other cultures rest on clichés or prejudices. Indeed, knowledge and real business are the best bridges between different cultures. I invite you also to add additional comments to this list.

Clichés on Chinese managers by their Western Colleagues

  • They don`t speak English
  • They never say NO and they are ambiguous
  • They lie frequently
  • Every deal needs long periods of personal relations, informal relations are key
  • Negotiations always take place in groups
  • They distrust Westerners and ask lots of questions to verify facts and terms
  • If you show them a picture of something they can replicate it faster, cheaper
  • They feel increasingly strong: they expect to rule the World in the future
  • They are extremely pragmatic but are not original: they just “copy and paste”
  • There is always a representative of the Communist Party in the important occasions
  • Exquisite treatment but they are implacable in implementing things
  • They pay extreme respect to the elderly and to authorities
  • Gifts are essential to initiate a relationship, deals are better closed at luncheons
  • They are patriotic and feel proud of their country even if they don´t endorse recent History
  • They need to develop their own management style and be more creative
  • Even if they are avid consumers of luxury goods they don’t enjoy the true pleasures of life
  • They have inherited the obsession of long-term planning from Communism


Clichés on Western managers by their Chinese colleagues

  • They disregard Chinese culture and values
  • They don´t speak a word of Chinese
  • They are lazy, stranded by Unions, bureaucracy and so-called social rights
  • They always want to get quick returns and don´t value long term relations
  • They don´t recognize that China has invented the Print, Gunpowder and many other things
  • They don´t respect traditions
  • They try to impose their own ways of thinking and living
  • We are more adaptive and open to their Art, Gastronomy and tastes than the reverse way
  • They only apply the hard rules and principles to the emerging counties, not to themselves
  • China is currently home for some of the major works in Architecture, Engineering and infrastructure
  • They overemphasize the importance of the individual at the expense of the group
  • They talk too much and don´t respect hierarchy
  • They live too much in the present and don´t care about the future
  • They don´t really understand –nor they care- about our actual needs
  • They do not recognize that the political system in China has generated overall prosperity and economic growth
  • People here respect the rules and customs more than elsewhere

Source: LinkedIn Pulse


About Author

This post was posted by the admin team, with link back to the article source with no clear author information where we support any author claim, and we will be happy to give credit back to any copy rights clammier.

Leave A Reply