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Chinese Culture in a Cross-Cultural Comparison

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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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A Study of Chinese Cultural Values and Chinese Identity through Cultural Fare Consumption

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By Mei Zhong, Hongmei Shen and Li Gong

Mei Zhong, Hongmei Shen, and Li Gong note that cultural values have been studied in terms of such dimensions as context, power distance, or individualism vs. collectivism for many years now. China has been defined as a culture that is high context, has a large power distance, and is collectivistic. But over the past thirty years, China has undergone tremendous change due to economic reforms. The authors sought to find out if these economic changes also had an impact on Chinese identity; and if so, how.

Since most of the past identity scales are based on U.S. American’s self-identity, Zhong, Shen, and Gong feel that it is time to consider creating a Chinese identity scale based on self-identified values and behavioral preferences particularly though cultural fare consumption. In so doing, the authors point out that Westerners tend to identify themselves as independent selves while the Chinese see themselves as more of an interdependent self. Since the Chinese population is fairly homogenous, typical definitions of identity as applied in the USA focusing on ethnic and racial identification cannot be applied to Chinese identity, Zhong, Shen, and Gong argue. They, therefore, define identity as a multidimensional construct that includes issues of group membership, self-image, ethnic affiliation and larger cultural affiliation. Zhong, Shen, and Gong tried to isolate these values by asking questions about the respondents’ cultural fare consumption.

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