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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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The Evolving Dimension of Collectivism in China

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By James W. Neuliep

James W. Neuliep points out that individualism-collectivism is probably the most studied cultural dimension. He also notes that no culture is purely individualistic or collectivistic. Instead, one can actually find examples of collectivism in individualistic cultures and vice versa. It should also be noted that cultures can and do change over time so that former collectivistic cultures may become individualistic. Case in point might be China which has been considered to be a collectivistic, group-oriented society. But for several decades now, China has undergone considerable reforms which could have affected Chinese culture as well. And it seems as if the younger generation of Chinese, while still considered collectivistic, is more individualistic than their parents or grandparents.

Neuliep notes that some researchers have argued that Maoist socialism actually helped foster individualism in China by forcing individuals to reinvent themselves as a public member of the party-state political organization. In particular, women seem to have benefitted from these policies because these policies help free women from the collectivistic-oriented patrilineal familial roles where women and children were subordinate to the father or eldest male for most of their lives.

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