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Asian Culture and Business Practice

A. Tony Prasetiantono Week 3

Key Cultural Elements: Confucianism
Confucianism: a powerful tool to guide a large population on a predictable path.  It teaches people to focus on studying chaotic times so as to avoid getting into political trouble.  It places great emphasis on social harmony and imposes moral standards on the general public.  It teaches people to respect knowledge and the well-educated..

Key Cultural Elements: Buddhism and Hinduism
A belief in reincarnation based on the karma of a previous life and each teaches people to practice and accumulate good deeds in order to earn a better next life.  Assisting people to endure the hardships and uncertainties of life.

Key Cultural Elements: Taoism
It is more of a philosophy shaping a life of purity and simplicity.  The supreme state of Taoism allows for the possibility of turning people into gods, a state that may be hastened through serving society.

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Imposes ethical standards and work disciplines. Respects the elderly and the educated. Cultivates learning habit.

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Difficult to innovate outside the box. Old guard only allows incremental progress. Lack of balance between theory and practice.

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Reinforces peoplecentric management culture. Helps people endure uncertainty during times of change.

Loosely organized. Tends to be too passive in dealing with corruption and misconduct.

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Pacifies the soul and spirit in turbulent times. Harmonizes group relationship.

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May mislead people to accept class society. May tolerate unfairness.


Accepts higher moral ground for the common benefit of society. Less dependent on materialistic incentives.

Acting as a group may be a trade-off for individualism.


Accepts management power.

Difficult to develop two-way communication. Hard to stand up against management’s abusive use of power and unethical conduct.

Way of Thinking
Subject Social status Relationship Logic Approach Means Channels Holistic Hierarchical Beyond business Interrelated Authoritarian Enforcement of order Relationship

Individualistic Egalitarian Business Networking Sequential Open to discussion Fact-oriented Information



Short or medium-term

Business Behavior
Meeting format Delegation Responsible party

Mostly informal
Clear objectives Authorized Frequently changed Open exchange Direct and open

Multiple objectives Limited Normally unchanged

Information exchange Need-to-know basis Business proposal Negotiation style Priority setting Expected partnership Arrived at indirectly

Passive but persistent Direct and less patient Favorable total deal Long-term Principles and objectives Business driven

Asian Business Characteristics
Chinese: the largest single ethnic group in the world, and China is the largest growing market.  Indian: extremely intelligent and sophisticated in their business dealings.  Japanese: the search for harmonious relationships with society.  Korean: extremely hard-working, patriotic  Thais: welcoming of foreign products and partners

Factors Affecting Purchasing Behavior
A lifelong quest for enrichment.  Focus on education and the next generation.  Recognition of a successful life.