Different countries have different culture and values. One country may consider something normal, but it may be the entire opposite for another. This is where cultural awareness and consideration comes into place. When visiting or working in another country, it is best to research what are the norms that are present in that specific place. This is especially true when it comes to the comparison of Western and Chinese culture. Not only are these two on the opposite ends of the world, but culture and behavior of respective citizens also vary. Here are some of the common cultural differences.
In China, saving the face of another person is considered sacred. Their culture believes in keeping their opinions sealed when this pertains to speaking up to something negative towards someones. It’s best to not say anything at all as they don’t want to shame other people. This also applies well when it comes to business negotiations. They would choose not to speak up even if their partner was doing something contradicting. They value prior goodwill and relationship more. This does not go the same for the Americans. They, on the other hand, speak whatever comes to their mind freely. Americans don’t have any issue regarding confrontation. If something is going wrong, they are not afraid to speak up about it. In some instances, this may sometimes be deemed as too aggressive and direct for other cultures that are not used to such. This differentiates both cultures manner of communication wherein the Chinese culture prefers indirect ways while the western culture prefers direct delivery of the matter.
When it comes to business relationships, the Chinese culture puts a strong emphasis on building such based on trust. They would prefer doing business with someone who they have known for a long time and having face-to-face transactions. Even outside of the working environment, they will make the effort to nurture the relationship as this is the number one thing considered in the scenario. The downside on this is that it could slow down the pace of the business transaction as time is devoted more to building the foundation of business relationships. Meanwhile, in the Western culture, they value cutting the deal first as this is the main reason why businesses are made. When it comes to the relationship aspect, they also build on it but in a more casual manner. They would socialize on office events, but not necessarily outside of the workplace. What they value the most is efficiency and effectivity in delivering the said goals.
The Chinese culture puts much emphasis on collectivism with the decisions they make. This means prioritizing more the group as a whole over each individual. They value the sense of community and celebrating their wins as a team regardless of the specific contribution of each person. This does not only apply to team events, but also to their own families and in the workplace. Chinese people would often base their decisions as to how it will affect the other members involved. Decisions are mostly made for the greater good rather than personal gain. As for the Western culture, they practice individualism. This pertains to the principle of being independent and self-reliant. They are encouraged to be ambitious and goal-oriented as to succeed in their undertakings. Americans are brought up to depend on their own capabilities which make them truly their own. When it comes to their family set-ups, children are trained to be independent and live on their own at the age of 18, More so, they celebrate individual merits.
Both of these cultures are unique and remarkable in their own ways. Several aspects and factors may vary, but this is what makes them distinct from one another. Such differences may inevitably cause some tension and misunderstanding similar to what happened to the issue of the Nanking Massacre. However, despite such vast diversity, this should spark an action in promoting cultural awareness and open mindedness in order to bridge the gap. With this call to action, each nation could build more harmonious and strong relationships that could bring forth a better world.