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Cultural Foundations in Communication: Relationship-Building in the Chinese Context
Chen, Ming-Jer; Thomas, Katherine Technical Note BC-0182 / Published July 15, 2003
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Product Overview

Across industries, both Chinese and Western managers report that their primary difficulty doing business with each other stems from poor communication. Since Chinese and Western business customs and etiquette greatly differ from one another, it is of fundamental importance that both groups of business people work to develop some understanding of these differences and of how their behavior may be interpreted. This note introduces readers to some primary differences between Chinese and Western methods of communication, and suggests strategies for communicating effectively while respecting cultural differences. While, to some degree, any introductory exposition of a culture is necessarily based upon a particular perspective, the generalities contained within this note are meant to serve as a starting place for understanding how Chinese-Western communications may be facilitated. Both Chinese and Western managers would be well served to learn to balance the individual behaviors they observe with the generalities offered here.

  • Overview

    Across industries, both Chinese and Western managers report that their primary difficulty doing business with each other stems from poor communication. Since Chinese and Western business customs and etiquette greatly differ from one another, it is of fundamental importance that both groups of business people work to develop some understanding of these differences and of how their behavior may be interpreted. This note introduces readers to some primary differences between Chinese and Western methods of communication, and suggests strategies for communicating effectively while respecting cultural differences. While, to some degree, any introductory exposition of a culture is necessarily based upon a particular perspective, the generalities contained within this note are meant to serve as a starting place for understanding how Chinese-Western communications may be facilitated. Both Chinese and Western managers would be well served to learn to balance the individual behaviors they observe with the generalities offered here.

  • Learning Objectives