Title: Understanding the differences between Chinese and Western business practices: insights into Confucian philosophy

Authors: Nibing Zhu; Zhilin Yang; Shaohan Cai; Haohao Sun

Addresses: International Business School, Beijing Foreign Studies University, No. 2 North Xisanhuan Road, Beijing, China ' School of Economics & Management, China University of Mining & Technology, No. 1, Daxue Road, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China; Department of Marketing, City University of Hong Kong, 83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong ' Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, 810 Dunton Tower, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, Canada ' Yimikang Tech. Group Co., Ltd., 2 Keyuan South 2 Road, High Technology Park, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Abstract: Confucian philosophy, which lies at the root of Chinese culture, has been attracting attention from both business practitioners and academia due to China's tremendous influence on the global economy. In this paper, we review the historical development of Confucianism and its managerial implications in China. We first identify key differences between Confucian and Anglo-American culture in terms of values and beliefs, power distance, cognitive patterns, social orientation, trust, communication, expression-orientation and social environment. We then highlight managerial implications of the five constant virtues inherent in Confucian philosophy, namely, benevolence ('ren'), righteousness ('yi'), rites ('li'), wisdom ('zhi') and trustworthiness ('xin'). A deep understanding of differences between Confucian and Anglo-American culture forms the foundation for mutually acceptable behavioural communication codes encompassing values and norms, cognitive patterns, social orientation patterns, modes and expression-orientation models. Finally, a case study is presented to illustrate how these principles are embedded within customer relations and organisational management.

Keywords: Confucian philosophy; Anglo-American culture; comparative analyses; international business.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2022.120701

European Journal of International Management, 2022 Vol.17 No.2/3, pp.180 - 197

Received: 13 Feb 2019
Accepted: 03 Nov 2019

Published online: 04 Feb 2022 *

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