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Chinese Culture in a Cross-Cultural Comparison

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Edited By Michael B. Hinner

Chinese culture has a very long and extraordinary tradition. With China’s rapid economic growth and a population of more than one billion people, China has become a very important market for many companies. In order to conduct business in a particular country, it is necessary to also understand the culture of that country. After all, culture influences people’s behavior and communication – also in the world of business. That is why an understanding of a country’s culture is crucial when communicating with all relevant stakeholders including its consumers, businesses, employees, and government authorities. This eighth volume of the Freiberger Beiträge seeks to provide some essential insights into Chinese culture to help improve transactions and relationships with Chinese stakeholders. The contributing authors help explain the various facets of Chinese culture revolving around communication, business negotiations, and conflict management.
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Harmony as the Foundation of Chinese Communication

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By Guo-Ming Chen

Guo-Ming Chen points out that due to its population size and its economy, and understanding of Chinese communication styles becomes necessary in today’s world. At the same time, globalization requires mutual understanding among people of different cultures. Misunderstandings are preprogrammed if people have a lack of cultural awareness and do not know how to address these cultural differences. That is why the author focuses on discussing three issues that are related to the key concepts of Chinese communication; namely, the trend of indigenous communication studies, harmony as the foundation of the paradigmatic assumptions of Chinese communication, and the pitfall of Chinese communication studies.

Chen notes that in the past, the primary focus has been on Western methods of studying communication and that emic, i.e. culture internal, approaches for studying and trying to understand communication principles and processes have only been on the rise recently. But Chen thinks an approach that considers both emic as well as etic, i.e. culture external, views might actually be more comprehensive because such an approach encompasses the advantages inherent to both approaches. So the author asks, how then should a method be constructed that takes the paradigmatic assumptions of Chinese communication into consideration.

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