Chinese Culture and Chinese Business Negotiating Style
Abstract: The People's Republic of China (PRC) is the world's largest emerging market. It has attracted huge interest from Western business communities since 1978. However, the PRC is also a demanding market and the Chinese are probably the world's toughest negotiators. Chinese business negotiating style has emerged as a special area of inquiry in international business since Lucian W. Pye from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published his seminal work Chinese Commercial Negotiating Style in 1982. The existing research stresses the link between Chinese culture and Chinese business negotiating style and draws our attention to a variety of Chinese negotiatingtactics. Despite these efforts, questions remain as to how to understand Chinese negotiating style in a systematic fashion, how to explain Chinese negotiating tactics from the vantage point of Chinese culture, how to deepen our empirical understanding of the subject, and so on.The purpose of this dissertation is to capture salient characteristics of Chinese culture to systematically understand Chinese business negotiating style in Sino-Western business negotiations. The research attempts to answer four major questions: 1) What are the primary patterns of the Chinese business negotiating style? 2) What are the fundamental Chinese sociocultural forces driving Chinese business negotiating behaviors and tactics? 3) How to understand the Chinese communication style in business settings? 4) Why is the Chinese style of negotiating distinctive? A qualitative case study approach is adopted as a principal methodology to achieve the research purpose. The research is based mostly on the author's in-depth personal interviews with the Chinese as well as Scandinavian business negotiators in various industries including telecommunications, shipping and shipbuilding.The dissertation is made up of a cover essay and appended one book, one book chapter, one journal article, two conference papers, and one detailed case study. The dissertation advances the scholarship by constructing systematic models with which to understand Chinese business behaviors and tactics and by providing real-life rich descriptive case study and illustrations. An important empirical feature of this research is that the Chinese and the Western perspectives of Chinese negotiating style are presented in a balanced way. The major findings include: 1) Chinese negotiating style can be systematically studied in terms of political, legal, technical, commercial, social, and strategic dimensions. 2) The PRC condition, Confucianism, and Chinese stratagems are the three fundamental Chinese sociocultural forces shaping Chinese negotiating behaviors and tactics. 3) Chinese communication style in business can be described as implicit, listening-centered, polite, insider-oriented, face-directed, and stratagemdriven. 4) The Chinese negotiator is a blend of "Maoist bureaucrat," "Confucian gentleman," and "Sun Tzu-like strategist." 5) Hofstede's fifth national culture dimension ("Confucian Dynamism") suffers from a philosophical flaw. The dissertation also provides managerial advice for negotiating and doing business effectively with the PRC.
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