You are on page 1of 4

Article 2: Ethical Issues Across Culture: managing the differing perspectives of China and the USA

Eveline Trinitio - 0317005

Introduction
According to Okpara (2012), cultures have a strong influence to someones behaviour.
Likewise, the culture between one country and another have a difference which also give an
influence the way people in that nations behave. Hence, the expectation for an individual in a nation
might not be the same. In all business transactions, ethics and expectations within the cultures gives
a vital impact. A misunderstanding in ethical standard might lead to an ethical conflict which will
give a negative effect to the business. Thus, to enhance the cross-cultural work in the workplace,
understanding the fundamental issues; culture and the expectation within the cultures since cultures
which are the determinant of business ethics is important (Pitta, Fung, and Isberg, 1999). The
justification below will be looking at the different between Germans and Chinese culture which is
affecting how they do business and how they work in the workplace.

Behaviour in Different Cultures


Culture distinguish the members of one group or category of people from others. There are 6

dimensions of cultures which are power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance,
long-term orientation and indulgence. This cultural dimensions are representing independent
preference of one state rather than its individuals (The Hofstede Centre, 2016). Also, this cultural
dimension identify the way each culture perceive their ethics and how they solve their own problem
(Peleckis, 2013).
The comparison between Germans and Chinese will be done by looking at the high vs. low
power distance and the individualism vs. collectivism. According to the Hofstede Centre (2016),
Germans have low power distance and they are high in the individualism. In contrast, Chinese have
high power distance and low individualism or they are more collectivist. Power distance deals with
the equality in the society and the higher it goes, the higher the gap between a powerful and less
powerful individual where individualism vs collectivism deals with bonds, relationship and
integration between the people (Okpara, 2012).
Although the Germans value hierarchy, the distance between the society is relatively low.
Instead of power, Germans give higher appreciation towards performance and technical ability. The
higher level managers can be criticised by their subordinates and the managers will also ask
feedback from the subordinates. In contrast, Chinese subordinates are unwilling to challenge their
higher level manager; they will not criticise their superior. They just want to follow and obey the
decision or rules made by their superiors (Foster, 2015).
In terms of individualism vs collectivism, Germans do not need in-depth relationship while
they are doing business which showed why their rank of individualistic is relatively low

Article 2: Ethical Issues Across Culture: managing the differing perspectives of China and the USA
Eveline Trinitio - 0317005
(Commisceo Global, 2016). They have strong belief in self-actualisation. The loyalty is based on
personal preferences together with their sense of duty and responsibilities. Their communication is
direct where they will say it even though it will hurt another people. For the Chinese, most of them
act in the interests of the group and the decision making is most likely affected by the group
consideration. Chinese also will be more cooperatives for their inner groups and will neglect the
outside groups (The Hofstede Centre, 2016).

Scenario
The differences in the cultural dimension above might lead to ethical conflict among the two
nations when they are doing business together.
As a country with high power distance, China views a superior-subordinate relationship
most likely is restricted and there is no defence against power abuse by the superiors. When it
comes for Germans to do business with the Chinese, it might be harder and it will increase ethical
conflict where Germans did not view power as a restriction for the superior and subordinates. For
example when a Germans executive meets the Chinese which is more superior than him during a
meeting, if the Germans criticised anything about the Chinese idea or insight, it will be considered
as unethical and it might also view as an insult to the Chinese. As an individualistic, a Germans will
speak directly and they will not cover up anything even though it is a bad news whereas the Chinese
considered as non-confrontational where they will not speak directly. For example if they want to
say no, instead of saying no they will say they will think about it or they will see. Also Chinese
want to build a comfortable relationship during a business where for Germans this is not
necessary. It will be a problem when the Chinese insisting on creating relationship where it will
make the business pace will be slower and it will create an uncomfortable situation to the Germans
(Commicseo Global, 2015).

Article 2: Ethical Issues Across Culture: managing the differing perspectives of China and the USA
Eveline Trinitio - 0317005

Strategy In Reducing The Conflict


To avoid the conflict between the two nations while doing business, some strategy has to be
applied. There are 5 strategies to reduce the conflict but the best practices for both country is
avoiding and collaboration.
AVOIDING
According to Pitta, Fung, and Isberg (1999), avoiding is the most useful where there is a
potential confrontation during the business engagement. This strategy is where do not ask, do not
tell posture was applied. The avoiding strategy will help the Germans to reduce the possible
conflict with the Chinese especially when it comes to the business and losing the Chinese partners
might give a loss to the company. Most likely when the Germans start to confront the Chinese with
critics and asking for feedback, it might arise the tension during the business process. Thus, by
avoiding the intention to criticised and keep asking for feedback from the Chinese, it might reduce
the possible tensions arise and this strategy is recommended when you are in the lower position
(The Foundation Coalition, 2016).
COLLABORATION
Collaboration is solving the problem with an outcome that completely satisfy both parties
(Thomas, 2016). For instance, about the relationship creation and direct communication problem, it
will be the best for both Germans and Chinese to collaborate to view until what extent they can
tolerate both parties business culture. It might be uncomfortable for the Germans if the Chinese
views the value of business by looking at the possibility in the relationship creation. Thus, using
collaboration, the Germans and Chinese might want to establish a set of agreement about how will
they conduct the business in the most comfortable way for both parties. Germans could increase
their engagement with the Chinese where it is appreciated by the Chinese and it did not give any
loss to the Germans and the Chinese could reflected their decision in a more direct response. For
example, they can start to give feedback and direct answers to the Germans.

Conclusion
In conclusion, the culture diversity between nations needs to be taken as a consideration for
the all company to reduce the conflict and the risk of losing partners. Thus, the best way to enhance
the cross-cultural work is by understanding the culture of their partners and try to adapt in the most
possible way.
Word Counts: 1,094 words

Article 2: Ethical Issues Across Culture: managing the differing perspectives of China and the USA
Eveline Trinitio - 0317005

Reference
Commisceo Global (2016). China Guide. Available from:
global.com/country-guides/china-guide [Accessed 13 May 2016].

http://www.commisceo-

Commisceo Global (2016). Germany Guide. Available from:


global.com/country-guides/germany-guide [Accessed 12 May 2016].

http://www.commisceo-

Foster, B. (2015). How Culture Makes a Difference in Management: Applying Geert Hofstede's
Cultural Dimensions to Management in Germany and China. Senior Honors, Eastern Michigan
University. Available from: http://commons.emich.edu [Accessed 12 May 2016].
Okpara, J.O (2012). The effects of national culture on managers attitudes toward business ethics
Implications for organizational change: Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change [online].
10(2), pp. 174-189. Available from: http://emeraldinsight.com [Accessed 12 May 2016].
Peleckis, K. (2013). International Business Negotiations: Culture, Dimensions, Context:
International Journal of Business, Humanities and Technology [online]. 3(7), pp. 91-99. Available
from: http://www.ijbhtnet.com [Accessed 10 May 2016].
Pitta, A.D., Fung, H.G, and Isberg, S. (2012). Ethical issues across cultures: managing the differing
perspectives of China and the USA: Journal of Consumer Marketing. [online] 16(3), pp. 240-256.
Available from: http://emeraldinsight.com [Accessed 10 May 2016].
The Foundation Coalition (2016). Understanding Conflict and Conlifct Managemetn. Available
from: http://www.foundationcoalition.org [Accessed 14 May 2016].
The Hofstede Centre (2016). What About China?. Available from: https://www.geerthofstede.com/china.html. [Accessed 10 May 2016].
The Hofstede Centre (2016). What About Germany? Available from: https://www.geerthofstede.com/germany.html [Accessed 10 May 2016].
Thomas, K.W. (2016). Making Conflict Management A Strategic Advantage. Available from:
https://www.cpp.com [Accessed 14 May 2016].