Chapter 11: When East Meets West: Managing Chinese Enterprise Relationships through Guanxi-based Diversity Management
11 When East meets West: managing Chinese enterprise relationships through guanxibased diversity management Charmine E.J. Härtel, Ruby M.M. Ma and Sharif As-Saber Introduction Increasingly, the forces of globalization are leading to the necessity for organizations to operate on an international scale in order to remain viable (Deresky, 2000). While these international operations can create a number of benefits for organizations, they also introduce a whole new set of challenges which must be dealt with, not least of which is the challenge of interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds. The problems created by a limited understanding of the diversity-related issues that can arise in international interactions are nowhere better illustrated than in the case of Sino–Western business collaboration. While China is a rising international business player, a closer examination of the international business interactions between China and the West reveals that only a small proportion of the joint ventures and negotiations undertaken by Westerners with the Chinese are successful. Consequently, there is an urgent need to understand the factors which impact upon the effectiveness of communication, negotiation and overall business relationships between Western and Chinese counterparts. It is with this focus that this chapter explores the management of diversity-related issues in the context of Sino–Western business interactions. In line with the two-dimensional conceptualizations of diversity advocated by Härtel and Fujimoto (2000), diversity will be considered in relation to both identity groups and individual differences. This approach is being adopted, rather than simply viewing diversity itself as the...
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