Business Leadership and Culture

Business Leadership and Culture

National Management Styles in the Global Economy

Björn Bjerke

How do business leaders think as a result of their national culture? This book provides a discussion and comparative analysis of five major cultures – American, Arab, Chinese, Japanese and Scandinavian – and how they reveal themselves in business practice.

Chapter 6: Chinese Culture

Björn Bjerke

Subjects: business and management, business leadership


Page 129 6—  Chinese Culture Introduction Regardless of what the Western world thinks and says about the Chinese, it must be acknowledged that China is the world's oldest civilization among cultures existing  today. Many of its old values are still preserved. Modern Greeks and Egyptians bear little cultural resemblance to their ancient forebears (Yang, 1991, p. 7). China is an ancient civilization. During the Chou Dynasty (1122 B.C. to 256 B.C.) the wheel, wire saw, diamond drill, and the crossbow were developed. In mathematics and  astronomy, the Chinese were at times ahead of the Western civilization. The Pythagorean theorem of geometry was developed in China at about the same time that it developed in  Greece, approximately 400 B.C. At about the same time, the Chinese mapped approximately 1500 stars, 200 years before Hipparchus mapped about one­half that number (Harris and  Moran, 1979, p. 309). China survived when other civilizations vanished. After many years of isolation, stagnation and internal turmoil, China is once again asserting its importance in the  international community and the urge to understand the Chinese has gained a new impetus. In this effort, many Westerners claim that Chinese behaviour is confusing,  unprofessional and seemingly inappropriate (Chu, 1991, p. 11). This opinion is probably more often than not a reflection of the attitudes of some Western  businesspeople and politicians to measure the whole universe by Western standards (ibid., p. 11). Western management principles must certainly be challenged to do  business in Asia in general and with the Chinese...

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