Table of Contents
The Chinese Culture
List of References
The need for cross-cultural management has become an integral part of the modern business organization. This is because the advancement in communication technology has made it possible for people and groups of people from different cultures to work together electronically, bridging the time and space between people. Migration and movement of people has enabled people from diverse cultures to move and work in a different region from its culture of origin. Similarly, globalization has made it possible for companies to venture into new markets with new cultures (Cukier and Middleton 1996). All these factors have enabled companies to employ people from different cultural background. Currently, organizations have to confront the reality of having to deal with cultural diversity, which is increasing in the workplace as one of the most serious concerns (Jones 2012). This essay examines the Chinese culture. The discussion revolves around the nature of its culture looking at aspects such as social structure, economic philosophy, language, political philosophy and cultural norms in the society among other important aspects of Chinese culture.
According to Briley (2007), individuals coming from different cultural backgrounds have varied norms, values and expectations, which in turn shape and influence their decisions, judgments and subsequent behavior. Bodley (1994), defines culture to mean values, ideals or rules of living passed on to future generation as social tradition or heritage. It encompasses the complexity of ideas or habits learned that constrain impulses and differentiate human beings from animals. Functionally, it is the way people solve problems of living together or adapt to their environment. Recent studies show that the cultural norms and values are not the only factors influencing individual behavior in organization, but rather come to play depending on the conditions calling for decision-making and judgment.
The Chinese Culture
One of the most conservative cultures in the world is the Chinese culture. The Chinese culture is dominantly communist with family values such as responsibilities and obligations forming part of the entire Chinese culture. The country has a rich cultural history and a civilization dating back to 1766 B.C.E. It is the third largest nation in the world with an area of 9,596,960 square kilometers and is the highly populated nation in the world. With such a population, China is a nation with a people rich in culture. According to Tanford (2015), Han Chinese composes the 92 percent of the population in China while the remaining 8 percent of the population is shared among the people of Manchu, Korean, Buyi, Mongol, Miao, Tibetan, Yi, Hui, Uyhgur and Zhuang among other nationalities. The minority communities resides in Outer China, however, there has been a slight change in this distribution over the years. According to Li (2014), there are a number of variations in terms of language and cultures in different parts of China, but its large nature converges all the variations making the Chinese culture relatively uniform. Despite this relative uniformity in the Chinese culture, about 55 minority communities reside in the more remote areas of the country having their own unique customs, languages and cultures. This implies that the society of China acknowledges diversity and cultural differences, thereby, giving space cultural liberalization.
The Chinese culture has variety of languages spoken today. The official language in China is the Mandarin Chinese, which is based on the dialect of Beijing and is also known as Putonghua. However, Bai Hua was the modern language spoken in China replacing the traditional language used in the 1920s. This explains the progression and development of language in China not withstanding its conservatives. Since its origin thousands of year ago, the system of writing in China has not changed. This writing system is very complicated and difficult to learn, but it is the one every dialect in China is using. The writing system comprises of over 60,000 characters. Out of these sixty thousand characters, the Chinese only use about 5,000 characters for communication in their daily life. One unique characteristic of the Chinese language that makes stand out against other languages in the world is that it is written in symbols, ideographs and pictographs representing ideas as opposed to sound, which is very different from the modern languages in the world that use phonetic alphabets. The Chinese also have a system known as Pinyin, which they use to write Chinese words in Roman characters. China adopted the communist system of government as an attempt to create a simplified system of writing and enhance literacy (Li 2014).
The comprehension of the China’s language is one of the unique things about its culture. According to Wu (2015), the languages in China are tonal in nature, that is, the differentiation of words is determined by whether the intonation is falling or rising and not just by the sounds of the words. Among the dialects in China today, include Hakka, Minbei spoken in Fuzhou, Gan, Wu in Shangai, Xian, Minnan in Hokkien-Taiwanese and Yue in Canton. Several other minority communities also have their own languages but each picks a commonality when it comes to differentiation of words (LeadTravel 2015).
There are three philosophical traditions molding the Chinese culture, including Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The majority of researchers is of the opinion that the Chinese people are more concerned about life, teachings than religion, making these three ideologies to be philosophical teachings about life rather than religion to the Chinese. These three philosophies determine how people relate with one another, with the environment, and the state. Buddhism, though originated from India, is not just a religion to the Chinese, but also a philosophy of life dealing with the immortal world. It talks about the promise of personal salvation and laying much emphasis of Chinese ideals such as collectivism and the importance of family and the society. Taoism is a philosophy that deals with living in harmony with nature. It is the philosophy that regulates the natural processes and sustains the balance on the planet earth by expressing the harmony of the opposites such as, the fact that, there would be no male without female, no darkness without light and no hate without love among other opposites (Li 2014).
On the other hand, Confucianism deals with the human relationships. This philosophy draws from the writings and teachings of a great philosopher called Confucius, and it is more ethical than religious in its belief system. Under Confucianism, all human relationships come with dual characteristics of obligation and responsibility. For this reason, the relationship between husband and wife, king and minister, father and son, mother and child, and brother and sister, both have obligations and responsibilities. Nevertheless, this philosophy goes beyond the responsibilities and obligations within a family setting, and incorporates other relationship’s obligations and responsibilities in the society such as bureaucrats and civilian, ruler and subject, the state and citizens, which if observed, then the society will be harmonious and just. This cultural philosophy of harmony acknowledged the existence of classes and castes in the society. It is this culture of harmony in diversity that has anchored the conservative culture of China since time immemorial making it stand out as a communist culture today.