Despite the recent financial crisis many Asian economies such as China, Korea and Singapore have become stronger. Therefore Asian values have started to influence global business practices. Explain how you think the Asian goal of “harmony, but not uniformity” can help to achieve intercultural understanding in globalized business practices. Use clear examples to support the ideas in your essay.
After the international financial crisis in 2008, China as a leader began to influence global business practices, more and more people realized that China are rising as the representative in the emerging markets and the global economy is going to be changed. Global countries started to pay attention to Chinese culture and ideas. Two thousand and five hundred years ago, Confucius said,” the gentleman aims at harmony, and not at uniformity, the man aims at uniformity and not at harmony.”
That means each state or nation should accommodate other civilizations while preserving its fine cultural traditions. With the globalization of economy, international business activities are increasing, which improves cultural integration and globalization, but the culture shock is inevitable. Even though the cultural contradictions are ubiquitous, we should take a correct attitude towards the cultural contradictions and respect human differences, cultural differences.
Firstly, everyone should respect the difference between Eastern and Western cultures. It is well known that each state or nation has their own culture, education, work, and ways of thinking, as a result, the cultural differences are obvious. For example, Chinese are collectivism while Americans are individualism. Besides, Confucianism has the greatest influence on Chinese culture, Chinese always seem to work in groups, and they advocate harmony, because Confucian spirit is harmony.
But American are independent thinkers, they achieve personal values. Different countries and people, due to the different historical and religious factors, have special customs and courtesy, all of these should be respected. For example, Muslims do not eat pork, and also avoid talking about pigs; in Ramadan, During daytime(among sunrise to sunset)they cannot eat and drink; Buddhists do not eat meat; Hindus do not eat beef and so on (Syfls 2007). Moreover, Chinese are high context cultures, Chinese know how to respect others, because they believe if you respect others, and others will respect you. When they go to other country, they will do in Rome as Rome does, they want to build a good relationship with others, to leave others a good impression, because Chinese are short term orientation, they respect traditional, fulfill their social responsibility and they love the “face”.
Secondly, “Harmony, but not uniformity” has great influence on global business practices, the company should not only respect others culture, but also keep their own characteristics. China is femininity culture, which pays attention to the relationship quality of life, and they will not impose others. After Hong Kong, Macao were handover, China insisted on the “one country, two systems” policy. On the premise of one China, the country’s main adhere to the socialist system, Hong Kong, Macao are inalienable parts of China, they retain the current capitalist system act as special administrative region. The Chinese government has all along advocated the peace. Chinese enterprises have a good enterprise culture in Chinese culture. After many Chinese enterprises have acquired other enterprises, they would still retain the original staffs. Related article: “you don’t listen to me because you are always talking on the phone with her.”
For example, when Tencent acquired Kangcheng Gleam, they claimed that they would keep the original teams (TechIFENG 2010). The enterprises must blend into local culture, to manufacture product that accord with local preferences, then they can survive there. Especially some food companies will be in line with the locals preference taste to do their food. Such as the Sichuan people like spicy, the KFC will launch food that Sichuan people favorite spicy foods, to win local people like. For better development of enterprise in other countries, companies should know the local hobbies, but companies should not forget their own advantages.
Thirdly, “Harmony, but not uniformity” embodies in global business,in contrast with companies between Eastern and Western. At present, many Chinese enterprises are going international, so the cross-cultural business negotiations are increasing, and the different societies between Eastern and Western will impact the process of negotiations. Cultural differences are profound printed in people’s mind, it is difficult to change, but if we can let some differences become advantages, it will be more successful. Here is an example, when Haier went into the USA market, they designed and produced the products to meet consumers’ various needs, for students, they designed the amphibious small refrigerator, except a small volume, it still can be used on computer desk, to save space, the college students like it very much( Wenzhouglasses 2008).
There is a contrary example, after Daimler Benz company merger with Chrysler company, the culture conflicts existed between American enterprise and Germany enterprise, however, as they ignored the culture differences and human differences, a lot of problems caused the merged company into crisis(Zhuang Enping 2002 ). These two examples presented that cultural shock is inevitable and culture shock can have a real effect on the outcome of a business undertaking(Charles 2009), but as long as the disadvantage is changed to the advantage, we need to take advantage of it, learn from other’s strong points to offset our weakness, go into the global economic system and form an enterprise’s own unique corporate culture, as a result, it can make the enterprise more success.
In short, under the influence of Chinese collectivism, many foreign countries also began to pay attention to team cooperation, which means Asian culture have affected on the global cultural. With the influence of globalization economy and the cultural diversity so that international communication businesses become more and more, a lot of foreign companies come to China to invest or cooperate.
In cooperation with other countries, to wish culture is not an obstacle, every company should respect difference cultures, the business people must pay attention to these, do as “Harmony, but not uniformity”, these will help the cooperation has greater probability of success, at the same time, enterprises should keep their own characteristics to create enterprise value and make it develop well. As long as there is unity objective, it can let the cultural differences become advantages.
Charles, M 2009, International Business Culture, 2nd edn, Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, Shanghai.
Syfls 2007, Respect all customs, accessed 21 December 2010, ;http://www.syfls.net/Item/4295.aspx;
TechIFENG 2010, Tencent acquired KangCheng gleam, accessed 21 December 2010, ;http://tech.ifeng.com/internet/detail_2010_08/23/2150719_0.shtml;
Wenzhouglasses 2008, The three ways of Haier crosses cultural fusion, accessed 21 December 2010, ;http://www.wenzhouglasses.com/html/news/362652.html;
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