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

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

3 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-197
Journal / PublicationEuropean Journal of International Management
Issue number2-3
Online published29 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022



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.

Research Area(s)

  • Anglo-American culture, Comparative analyses, Confucian philosophy, International business

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