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The difference culture of Business Negotiation between Chinese and

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									The difference culture of Business Negotiation between
Chinese and American

About Business Negotiation

Definition of Business Negotiation

      What is international business negotiation all about? Generally

speaking, Negotiation means discussions through which relevant parties

can reach agreement to satisfy their needs and coordinate relations. The

word negotiate derives from the Latin infinitive negotiari meaning “to

trade or do business.” This verb itself was derived from another, negare,

meaning “to deny” and a noun, otium, meaning “leisure.” Thus, the

ancient Roman business person would “deny leisure” until the deal had

been settled. Negotiation is at the heart of every transaction and, for the

most part, it comes down to the interaction between two sides with a

common goal (profits) but divergent methods. The details of the contract

must be negotiated to the satisfaction of both parties. As we will see, it

can be a very trying process that’s rife with confrontation and concession.

Whether it’s trade or investment, one side will always arrive at the

negotiation table in a position of greater power. That power (e.g., the

potential for profit) may derive from the extent of the “demand” or from

the ability to “supply.” The purpose of negotiation is to redistribute that

potential. There's no such thing as “take it or leave it” in international

business. Everything is negotiable. It all depends on the expertise of the

negotiators. And even someone says negotiation means skills as well as


        Therefore international business negotiation involves negotiators

representing at least two parties, one or more than one translators or

interpreters when necessary, settings referring to office or meeting-room

for negotiations, invisible cultural background of the participants, and at

least one round discussions oriented to achieve certain interest goals.

When one negotiation finished, the ideal result should be: All the parties

concerned are pleased at the happy “win-win” end from which their

anticipated interest goals are achieved and the friendly and harmonious

relationship among companies the negotiators represented are established

and continued. And from the above, we can find that international

business negotiation means cross-cultural communication in the special

field of international business, it involves relevant information collection

and utilization, and requires good command of language (And as to

English used in international business, we often call it Business English

which is one branch of English for Specific Purposes, or in short ESP).

Nature of Business Negotiation

        1. negotiation is a dynamic giving-and-getting process.

        2. negotiation means cooperation and competition as well.

        3. negotiation means reciprocity, but not equality.

Criteria for Successful Business Negotiation

     1. the degree of achievement of negotiation objectives.

      2. high efficiency of negotiation, that is, benefits from negation are

higher than negotiation costs.

      3. maintenance of reciprocal and cooperative relations

Classifications of Business Negotiation

      1. political negotiation, economic negotiation, military negotiation

and private affairs negotiation according to the nature of negotiation;

      2. buyer’s negotiation, seller’s negotiation, agent’s negotiation and

cooperator’s negotiation according to the negotiating parties concerned;

      3. governmental negotiation, semi-governmental negotiation and

non-governmental negotiation according to the department negotiation

belongs to;

      4. host country negotiation, home country negotiation the third

country negotiation according to the location of negotiation;

      5. solo negotiator negotiation and negotiating team negotiation

according to the number of negotiators;

      6. bilateral negotiation and multilateral negotiation according to the

negotiating parties involved;

      7. oral negotiation and written negotiation according to the form of

contact of negotiating party.

Principles for Business Negotiations

Characteristics of Business Negotiation

      1. negotiation is dynamic, transitory and directive,

      2. trying to persuade your counterpart to understand or accept your


      3. there must be interrelations and conflicts in opinions, interests

and even behavior patterns,

      4. conveying and exchanging information through logical thinking

and relevant suitable expressions,

      5. negotiation is a process of adjusting needs and finally reaching


      6. there must be the bottom line of interest for each party

      7. interests you get from negotiation determined by the strength of

your company, your negotiating strategy and relevant environmental


      8. negotiation is science as well as art.

Principles of Business Negotiation

      1. try to expand your general interests during the whole process of


      2. skillful at creating open, fair and just competitive situation,

      3. make objectives clear and compromise at suitable time while


      4. the principle of equality and reciprocity,

      5. stress your interests, not standing point,

      6. stick to objective criteria independent from personal emotions,

      7. separate personal affairs form business,

      8. try to put forward proposals beneficial to both parties,

      9. pay attention to not all the cases need negotiation.

Planning Business Negotiation

Preparation Before Business Negotiation

      1. get to know what you want and what your counterpart wants

from the negotiation,

      2. considering your standingpoint,

      3. overestimate your counterpart at the beginning,

      4. let your counterpart know something about your strength,

      5. be calm

Planning Business Negotiation

      1. determine negotiation theme and objectives,

      2. determine the lowest acceptable bottom line of each terms,

      3. confirm the negotiation place, time, and period,

      4. choosing your team and dividing the work

      5. confirm the negotiation agenda

      6. determine the negotiation style

      7.   ensure   the    good    logistics,   such   as   accommodation,

communication, arrangement of negotiating room, relevant information

and files,

       8. imitate the real negotiation and make the final check on your


Process of Business Negotiation

The Opening of Business Negotiation and its Strategies

Work should be done at this stage:

       1. establish good negotiating atmosphere,

       2. confirm the negotiating agenda accepted by both parties.

Strategies at this stage:

       1. Attitude: open, friendly and confident,

       2. Behavior: natural, brisk, polite, not always in a hurry,

       3. Expressions: natural, to be an educated person, may have some

small talks, such as travel experiences, sports, weather, common

experiences, etc.,

       4. Clothes: business suit

       5. Body language: natural, utilize positive body language and avoid

negative body language,

       6. Communication: exchange information and ideas positively and

effectively with your counterpart.

       7. Agenda: fix the agenda in written form but never limited by it,

attention: any agenda can be negotiated once more.

The Middle Part of Business Negotiation and its Strategies

Work should be done at this stage:

      1. exchange overtures

      2. bargain

Strategies at this stage:

      1. Opening statement: outline your points in your own statement,

listen to your counterpart’s statement carefully, keep notes when

necessary, analyze and summarize the major points in your counterpart’s


      2. Sequently: put forward useful proposals to lead the negotiation

to the right track through which both parties can pursue their common


      3. As to the quotation: use the oral form or written form,

      4. As to the inquiry: respect your counterpart while inquiring, times

of inquiry determined by the real price analysis and price concessions

made by seller,

      5. As to bargain: respect your counterpart while bargaining; polite;

avoid personal attack; business is business, business should not be

influenced by personal emotions; methods of bargaining---bargain item

by item, bargain over the price as a whole, bargain according to different

price groups; stages of bargaining---hot discussion, making concession to

break the ice, stepping to the final agreement,

      6. Concession: Your concession is made only when you received

pressure from your counterpart, and make sure your concession is little; If

the concession is unavoidable, ask yourself: 1). Should I make concession

now? 2). How much should I make concession? 3).What can I get from

this concession?

      7. Stalemate: make concession to break stalemate, use the third

party to mediate, be humorous.

The Conclusion of Business Negotiation and its Strategies

Work should be done at this stage:

      1. arrive at the agreement,

      2. sign the contract

      3. summarize the negotiation.

Strategies at this stage:

      1. send out signals of concluding negotiation to your counterpart,

      2. make quotation for the last time,

      3. make summary about the previous discussions,

      4. file the negotiation minutes,

      5. sign the written contract,

      6. summarize the negotiation, draw lessons from it.

Information Factor in Business Negotiation

Functions of       Background       Information   Relating   to Business


      1. Background information is the foundation on which negotiation

strategies are made,

      2. Background information is an effective tool to control and direct

the negotiation process,

      3. Background information is the medium of communication for

negotiating parties,

Classifications of Background Information Relating to Business


      Negotiation information can be classified into three groups:

background information for negotiation, live information during

negotiation process, interfering information to negotiation. And the

background information for negotiation can be classified into another

three groups: the first group includes: 1). Political situation, 2). Religious

belief, 3). Legal system, 4). Business practice, 5). Social customs, 6).

Financial situation, 7). Infrastructure and logistic system, 8). Climate; the

second group involves information about the business fields you and your

counterpart specialize in, including the business type, the market situation,

competitive situation, supply and demand situation and so on. And the

last group includes: subjective qualification of your counterpart,

financing standing of your counterpart’s company, operation situation of

your counterpart’s company, credit worthiness of your counterpart’s

company, your counterpart’s negotiation objectives and agenda,

information about the opposite negotiator, interpersonal relations, the

strengths and weakness of your counterpart, the negotiating styles of your

counterpart and so on.

      Collections      and    management      of   Business      Negotiation


      How to collect the information needed in business negotiation?

There are two methods: vertical direction method and cross direction


      How to manage the business negotiation information? Generally

speaking, There are four steps:

      1). evaluating the information,

      2). sorting out the information,

      3). classifying the information into different groups according to

relevant categories,

      4). filing and preserving the information for later use.

Personnel Factor in Business Negotiation

Qualities of Competent Business Negotiator

     1). Put himself or herself into other’s place, 2). Respect others as

well as himself or herself,    3). To be honest, 4). To be impartial, 5). To

be persevering, 6). To be responsible, 7). To be flexible in personality, 8).

To be humorous, 9). Self-management, 10). To be energetic, 11). To be

diligent, 12). Clear standpoint, 13). Time-management, 14). Deal with

pressure reasonably, 15). Good interpersonal skills in different culture

background, 16). good language skills, 17). Good cross-cultural

communication skills and sensitive to different cultures (similar to No.15),

18). To be resolute

Business Negotiator

         Not everyone is cut out to be a negotiator, and the demands for

international work are more stringent than for domestic work. Negotiators

must possess a wide variety of technical, social, communication, and

ethical skills. The job demands not only mental acuity but also a high

degree of sympathy with the party on the other side of the negotiating


         One of the mistakes many companies make is to assign a member

of their upper management as a negotiator without actually considering

his or her negotiating skills. In many cases, being the boss almost

precludes someone from being a good negotiator. Such a person may be

used to getting their way without question and unable to engage in the

give and take that’s at the heart of true negotiations. Unless their

management style is strongly based in consensus, they’ll be unwilling to

allow for the needs of their counterparts.

         The negotiator must always inhabit the middle ground. He (or she)

must enter the negotiation process with the understanding that both teams

must leave the table with a sense that they’ve received “enough.” The

negotiator’s job is to maximize the long-term benefits of the venture

while securing short-term needs.

      The chief negotiator is responsible for unifying the strategy, tactics

and overall style to be used by a particular company. He must exercise a

high degree of self-control and keep the team on track under trying

circumstances. Once the strategy and tactics have been determined, team

discipline demands that all decisions regarding changes must have the

chief negotiator as the focal point. While strategic consensus is important,

delegation of responsibility is of little value. The stakes in international

business are very high, and the chief negotiator must be willing to accept

total responsibility for the outcome. This will be true even when

subordinates have made key decisions.

      The chief negotiator’s greatest skill is the ability to deal with

pressure from a variety of directions. Headquarters, clients, team

members, family, negotiating counterparts, and government officials will

all demand attention. The CN must be a decision maker who can keep

everyone satisfied without being distracted from the pre-established

priorities. Handling these responsibilities within a foreign environment,

and possibly in a foreign language, isn’t a job for the faint of heart.

      Special problems often arise between a chief negotiator who has

been brought in on a consultancy basis and personnel who’ve been made

members of the negotiating team primarily for their technical skills.

These conflicts must be worked out far in advance of negotiations.

Negotiation Team

      The team solidarity is very important. Whenever possible, the chief

negotiator should have full control over the selection of negotiating team

members. This crucial, because the team must think as a unit at all times

and have total respect for, confidence in, and loyalty to the chief

negotiator. There can be no “turf wars” or disputes over the chief

negotiator’s authority or assignments. This may seem extreme to

believers in less hierarchical management structures. However, high

stakes, stresses, and the adversarial nature of international negotiations

can’t tolerate anything less than a unified effort if success is to be attained.

What’s more, Divide and Conquer is a very common negotiating

technique, and the only defense against it is seamless unity. In fact,

dissention within a team will be exploited by counterparts to the fullest


      There are several reasons to keep the negotiation team as small as

possible. The first reason is this can reduce expenses and difficulties that

arise when your negotiation team must operate overseas. The second

reason is this is helpful to effective communications among team

members. And lastly, this makes the coordination within team easier and


Language Factors in Business Negotiation

The Multilingual Fact and its Complexities in International Business


      The word “international” in international business negotiation just

means differences in language, culture, thinking pattern, behavior mode

and so on. Differences mean possibilities, and possibilities in turn mean

opportunities and profits. On the other hand, the differences mean

complexities. So, we can see there are so many uncertainties in

international business negotiations. How to deal with these differences,

possibilities, complexities and uncertainties is a tough task for negotiator

or negotiation team.

      It’s also true that languages employed in international business

negotiation are very complex because of the multilingual fact. How to

handle the language problems and employ language effectively is crucial

to the successful negotiation in competitive business arena.

English as Working Language in International Business Negotiation

      English is very popular and widespread in today’s world. Many

people from different countries speak English. There are native English

speakers; there are also so many people speaking English as foreign

language or second language. In fact, English acts as working language in

international business nowadays. English as working language in

international business is relatively different from the general English we

speak or write in daily life. Sometimes we call English used in

international business as business English (which is one branch of

ESP---English for Specific Purposes). Business English has its own

features, such as, the frequent use of terms, foreign words, old words,

abbreviations, long sentences, passive voice and so on.

Language Style and Strategies in International Business Negotiation

      Language style:

      1). Formal vs. humorous,

      2). Business expressions vs. daily expressions,

      3). Fixed within the framework of preparation beforehand vs.

flexible according to the changing situations,

      4). Use of terms,

     5). Use of long sentences,

     6). Frequent uses of passive voice,

     7). Logical inside.

      Language stageties:

      Business negotiation is just like playing chess, you will frequently

change your psychology, standpoints and negotiation strategies including

language strategies according to the changed and changing situations. The

following will be useful when you enter the negotiating room:

      1). Aggressing as well as defending, try to find your counterpart’s

weakness(in expressions, in inside logics) and use your own strength to

get the upper hand,

      2). Change your standpoints and language strategies according to

the changing situations,

     3). be sensitive to the taboos in your counterpart’s culture,

     4). Your language must serve your purpose, serve to realize your

 interests, to aggress as well as defend, to arrive at win-win end.

     5). Your language must be professional and logical (to resolve the

 problems) and sometimes humorous (to relax the tense atmosphere or

 break the stalemate).

Translation and Interpretation in International Business Negotiation

      The ability to make oneself understood is essential if any

agreement is to be reached. International negotiations often require the

use of translators or interpreters to attain this goal. The optimal translator

or interpreters will understand both the linguistic and cultural nuances so

necessary to communication. Translators or interpreters must also be

adept at comprehending the intricacies of everything from body language

to seating arrangements. Rarely will a solo negotiator or team have

sufficient language skills to operate anywhere in the world. The quality of

the translators or interpreters involved will greatly influence the

negotiation's outcome. And generally speaking, the translators or

interpreters in international business negotiations should:

      1). Have a large vocabulary of English,

      2). Be familiar with the business terms in source and target


       3). Understand the lexical, syntactic characteristics of business

      English, especially oral English in international business,

       4). Know about relevant business knowledge,

       5). Be sensitive to cross-cultural communication,

       6). Have good interpersonal skills,

       7). Specialize in using dictionaries, encyclopedia and relevant

      reference books.

Cultural Factor in Business Negotiation

Cross-cultural Feature of International Business Negotiation

        Just as the above mentioned, international business negotiation is a

cross-culture communication process. Cross-culture is the typical feature

of international business negotiation from the viewpoint of language

communication. In fact, different cultural backgrounds can be

opportunities or obstacles for negotiators or negotiation team to win the

battle. So, as an international business negotiator, you should at least:

        1). Understand the essence of culture in business field, it includes,

language uses, thinking patterns, behavior modes, national characteristics,

negotiation style, business customs, business laws and regulations and so


        2). Be sensitive to the likes and dislikes, preferences and taboos in

your counterpart’s culture;

        3). Adjust your language strategies even your negotiation strategies

according to the principles of cross-cultural communication;

      4). Respect your counterpart’s culture as your own.

Cultural Characteristics and Negotiation Strategies

      Culture   influences   sometimes        slightly   sometimes   greatly

negotiation strategies. Culture is just like the water fish swim in, we

seldom recognize the existence of our own culture, even your foreign

counterpart’s culture. So, before you enter the negotiating room, you

should consciously know more about your counterpart’s culture and try to

compare the differences between it and your own. Your negotiation

strategies should base on these understandings.

Brief Introductions to Business Negotiation Styles by Country


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Impassive, Aggressive, Stubborn

for investment: Social, Hierarchical, Departmental


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Aggressive, Pragmatic, Indulgent

for investment: Social, Cowboy, Platoon


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for traded: Pragmatic, Stern,Technical

for investment: Pragmatic, Hierarchical, Departmental


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Compliant, Deceptive, Social

for investment: Divide and Conquer, Departmental, Social


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Aggressive, Secretive, Exploitative

for investment: Consensus, Jekyll and Hyde, Self-Righteous


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for Trade: Indulgent, Intimidating

for investment: Intimidating, Hierarchical, Social


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Impassive, Intimidating

for investment: Technical, Pragmatic, Hierarchical


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for traded: Social, Deceptive, Compliant

for investment: Consensus, Departmental


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Deceptive, Compliant, Brinkmanship

for investment: Consensus, Hierarchical, Departmental, Indulgent


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Compliant, Secretive, Social

for investment: Platoon, Divide and Conquer, Horizontal


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Aggressive, Exploitative

for investment: Brinkmanship, Intimidating, Horizontal, Jekyll and Hyde


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Social, Compliant, Exploitative

for investment: Consensus, Divide and Conquer, Social


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Consensus, Impassive, Ambivalent

for investment: Consensus, Divide and Conquer, Deceptive


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Aggressive, Impassive, Ambivalent

for investment: Consensus, Hierarchical, Jekyll and Hyde


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Compliant, Self-Righteous

for investment: Hierarchical, Consensus, Social


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Compliant, Secretive, Social

for investment: Indulgent, Hierarchical, Deceptive


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Aggressive, Intimidating, Deceptive

for investment: Hierarchical, Social, Intimidating, Brinkmanship


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Aggressive, Impassive

for investment: Secretive, Consensus, Exploitative

South Africa

Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Pragmatic, Stern, Social

for investment: Consensus, Hierarchical, Self-Righteous

South Korea

Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Aggressive, Intimidating, Secretive

for investment: Consensus, Divide and Conquer, Deceptive


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade: Aggressive, Social, Exploitative

for investment: Consensus, Divide and Conquer, Indulgent


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for traded Aggressive, Exploitative, Indulgent

for investment: Hierarchical, Jekyll and Hyde, Social

United Kingdom

Common Negotiation Strategies:

for traded Financial, Stern, Arrogant

for investment: Hierarchical, Platoon, Legalistic

United States

Common Negotiation Strategies:

for trade; Aggressive, Legalistic, Arrogant, Technical

for investment: Cowboy, Platoon, Intimidating


Common Negotiation Strategies:

for traded: Aggressive, Secretive, Self-Righteous

for investment: Consensus, Hierarchical, Deceptive

The different between Chinese and foreigner cultures

With China entry the WTO and will hold the Olympic Games in 2008, the

relationship between China and Western in politics, economy, culture will

become more and more close. It is undoubtedly that the etiquette will

play an important role in this process. To the definition of etiquette, China

and Western have a different understanding. As Chinese thinks that the

etiquette is the common behavior standards that all the members must

obey, and its purpose is to keep the normal living order of the society. In

ancient China, a famous philosopher thinks that etiquette is a principal to

deal with the relationship between man and supernatural beings, man and

ghosts, man and men. There are also many words about etiquette

in English. For example, courtesy which means courteous behavior, good


protocol which means system of rules governing formal occasion, e .g,


between governments, diplomats, etc. And these words are all from the

same French word etiquette. Of course, more spread and more profound

cultural comment of

the western etiquette is from the Classical Period, i.e., old Athens and

Roma culture. Today, etiquette become the reflection and manifestation of

one country’

s politics, economy, culture in people’s social contact. And it include the

principal and moral that people should obey in daily life. Etiquette

formed in the

process of the deposition of culture and social contact. So every nation

have their own etiquette standard which created with the spirit of this

their nation. Because of this formed the cultural difference between

different nations. As languages is the carrier of the human culture. This

difference must reflect in the language of different nations. So in the

following, we will take china, British and America as the representation

of Western, to look at some cultural difference

in etiquette, and then analyze the reasons. Furthermore, we will discuss

how to

learn western culture.


Cultural differences on politeness between western and Chinese can be

found in many aspects of daily communication, including addressing,

greeting and parting,compliments, apologies, thanks, etc. In the following,

we will look at some cultural different between China and western.

1.Greeting and Parting

When people meet acquaintances or friends, people usually greet each

other. The purpose of greeting is to establish or maintain social contact.

So formulaic expressions are often used, but such formulaic expressions

often causes conflict because of the great cultural differences between

Chinese and native English speakers. In English, people often employ the

following      expressions       to     greet      each         other   “Good

morning/evening/afternoon. “Fine day, isn’t it? ”How is everything

going?” Have you eaten yet?” What are you going to do?” Where have

you been?”etc. Westerners treat them as real question. While in Chinese,

                    “       “
we always say “你吃了吗?” 你上哪里去?” 你干什么去?” show

our consideration. Parting may be divided into two steps. Before the final

prating, there is usual a leave-taking. Western and Chinese cultures have

diverse ways to deal with leave-takings. Firstly, in English society, during

the closing phase of an encounter, from ”I” perspective, reasons for

terminating the encounter are presented in mitigatory comments. Typical

comments are associated with expressions of apology,such as “I” am

afraid I must be off, I have to relieve the baby-sitter” etc.

Western people believe that to be willing to visit and converse with

someone is to have respect for him.; to terminate the visiting is not of

one’s own free will, but because of some other arrangements, therefore

they always try to make their leaving sound reluctant by finding some

reasons and apologize for it to make the leaving acceptable for both

parties. English speakers often signal several times before leaving. “Well,

it’s been nice to see you again. I do enjoy our talk and the lovely dinner,

but I must be going soon”. Thank you very much for asking me over. I

hope we’ll be able to get together again before long…” Consolidation in a

wider range of common acquaintances also occurs, in expressions such as

“Say hello to Jack for me” or “Remember me to John”. In Chinese society,

during the closing phase of and encounter, usually, from a “you ”

perspective, reasons for ending the encounter are set forth in mitigatory

expressions. Such expressions include“你挺忙的,我就不多打扰了。

“你一定累了,早点休息吧,      ”
             我要告辞了。 , etc. With these words, they

may stand up from their seats. Chinese leave-taking is very short and

quick. Western people think it so abrupt that they have not prepare for it.

While moving to the door, Chinese employ expressionsof apology like

          ”            ”
               占用你不少时间。 It should be noted

that these expressions employed by Chinese guests to show concern for

their hosts can only be appropriate for business visits in the English

environment2..AddressingBoth western and Chinese people have two

kinds of personal names---a surname and a given name. But the order and

the use of these names in the two languages are somewhat different. In

Chinese, the surname comes first and then the given name And people

like add“小”before their family name. Such as“小王”“小郑”、

“小李”“小徐”and so on.. While westerners names are written and

spoken with the given name first and the family name last. So John

Smith's family name is Smith, not John. In a formal setting, address men

as "Mister" (abbreviated as "Mr."), married women as "Misses"

(abbreviated as "Mrs."), and unmarried women as "Miss" (abbreviated as

"Ms."). These days many women prefer to be addressed using the

abbreviations "Ms." or "M.", pronounced "miz". If the person has an M.D.

or Ph.D., they will often be addressed as "Doctor" (abbreviated as "Dr.").

Faculty are addressed as "Professor" (abbreviated as "Prof.").In an

informal situation,westerners will introduce each other by first name,

without titles, and occasionally by just the last name. If you are

introduced to somebody by first name, you can address him or her by first

name the next time you meet. The only exception would be for someone

who holds an important position, such as the university president or

provost. Unless they tell you otherwise, faculty should be addressed

using their title and last name (e.g., "Professor Smith"). When in doubt,

use the formal manner of address, since it is better to err on the side of


It is also appropriate to ask how they prefer to be addressed. Children

should always address adults in the formal fashion, using their title and

last name. Another difference is about the form of addressing. From the

viewpoint of sociolinguistics, forms of addressing can serve as an

indication of the relationship of power and solidarity in the society. In

calling their superiors or elders, the Chinese are accustomed to the

nonreciprocal or asymmetrical addressing, in other words. They use “title

+surname” to address their superior or elders rather than call them

surnames, while the superior or elders call the addressers their names.

The Chinese tend to abide by the polite principle of depreciating oneself

and respecting others to show appropriate respects towards the persons

being addressed, otherwise, the addresser may be considered as ill

mannered, ill educated or rude. But in English speaking countries, people

have a tendency to follow the reciprocal or symmetrical addressing.

Although they are different in age and status, they can call the other

directly, namely, their names, even first names except when they call the

doctors, not arousing offence between them, but demonstrating the sense

of intimacy and the conception of” Everyone is created equal”. Chinese

people feel unnatural addressing a westerner by his given name, feeling

that it indicates too close a relationship, and westerners, on the other hand,

may feel that if a Chinese insists on using his surname, it indicates an

unwillingness to be friendly and maintains a gap between them. So the

use of forms like” Miss Mary” or “Mr. Smith ” may be a Chinese forms

of compromise. With Miss Mary, the use of the given name indicates

friendliness, but the addition of the title indicates the respect they feel

they ought to show. And with Smith, the lack of a title indicates

friendliness, but the use of the surname prevents if sounding too intimate.

However, both addressing used by the Chinese sound very strange and

uncomfortable to the westerner.

3.Compliments and ResponseTo compliment is to praise the addressee’s

virtues, ability, behavior, appearance, clothing, personality and belongs.

Appropriate compliments can serve as effective supplementary means in

inter-personal communication. Western and Chinese culture are at polar

opposites about compliment. An western hostess, if she is complimented

for her cooking skill, is likely to say,” Oh, I am so glad that you

liked it. I cook it especially for you.” Not so is a Chinese hostess, who

will instead apologize for giving you “Nothing”. They will say“随便

作几个菜,    ”                            “
     不好吃。If translate this into English I just made some dishes

casually and they are not very tasty. Perhaps the foreigner will think why

you invite me to you family and have the untasty food. You aren't respect

me. The English-speaking people are more active to praise others and to

be praise than Chinese people. For example, the Americans are “straight

forwardness”, the Chinese take pride in “modesty”. That modesty has left

many a Chinese hungry at an Americans table, for Chinese politeness

calls for three refusals before one accepts an offer and the Americans

hosts take ”no ” to mean “no ”, whether it is the first, second or third time.

Still bigger differences exist in people’s attitude towards compliments,

i.e., in the response to compliments. Chinese are tend to efface

themselves in words or refuse it, although they do feel comfortable about

the compliments. So many westerners simply feel puzzled or even upset

when their Chinese friends refused their compliments. The Chinese

people are not intending to be modest with the sacrifice of friendship in

so doing, but it is ratherdue to the traditional Chinese philosophy, that of

modesty. The Chinese people regard modesty as a most valuable virtue,

so they seldom agree to the complimenton their own.

4.Apologies and ResponsesIf wrong things are done, there must be

apologies .As to how to offer apologies,both western and Chinese people

may “I am sorry….”,”I apologize for…”. Etc. But Chinese would like to

apologize for the crowded state of their dwellings and for small numbers

of dishes, although the room is big enough and there are many dishes.

Chinese stay these to express self-depreciation only out of courtesy, not

having other implication. But the westerners would wonder, since the

room is so large and there are so many dishes, why do they say so. May

be they do notwelcome our visit, they don’t like us to eat more. When

Chinese contact with westerners, if they do not know these differences, if

will lead to misunderstanding. The ways to respond to apologies are

different, too.

A: Oh, I’m sorry. I forget it.

B1: It doesn’t matter.

B2: That’s all right.

B2 is westerners. B1 is a Chinese person. “It doesn’t matter” is a

translation of “没关系”from Chinese, which is a common pattern in

Chinese to respond to apologies. If a Chinese uses this to respond to

apologies, westerners will thinkthat he is a sharp person, who simply

cannot forgive a very little wrong thing.

5. Thanks and Responses

“Thank you” is widely used in English to show gratitude in such cases

as being invited, helped, given a gift, etc. Cultural differences exist

between Chinese and western in how to express thanks and responses. In

fact, “Thank you” is uttered in English for more than acknowledging

favor or gratitude, and it is often a means to show politeness. On many

occasions, the English use this utterance while the Chinese may say “有

劳您了。”or do not say a word at all but just smile or nod. As a matter of

fact, “Thank you ” is used more widely by westerners than Chinese use

“谢谢”, for minor favors like borrowing pencil , asking directions,

requesting someone to pass on a message , receiving a telephone, etc.

“Thank you” not only shows politeness but also carries a person’s

grateful feeling for those who offer help. Without using expressions of

gratitude, misunderstandings may arise because the help seems to be

taken for granted and is mot appreciated, For westerners, each person is

an equal individual, whether he is a family member of not. In Chinese,

“谢谢”is not frequently used between intimate friends and family

members because it may imply a certain distance between the addresser

and the addressee. Native speakers may respond to “Thank you ” by

saying: You are welcome /It’s a /my pleasure/ Not at all/ Don’t mention

it/That’s all right. While Chinese people may say:“这是我应该做的”

which may convey to westerners the message that the Chinese did not

really want to do it, or that he/she did it only because it wall his/her duty.

This message is quite different from what the Chinese speaker intended to


6. Asking Personal Affairs

People from China do not regard it as asking personal affairs when they

ask others name、year、marital status、wages、personal life、belief and

political points. It is regard as concerns. While the westerns will think

you 侵犯 their right of privacy. when we talk to the westerns, we must

avoid asking some questions like this:“How old are you?”“Are you

        、                                、
married?”“How many children do you have?”“How much do you

     、                    、
make?”“What’s your weight?”“Do you go to the church?”

7.Invitation and Saying Good-Bye

In the culture of British and America, it is very important to consult a

time before you invite somebody to attend a banquet or take part in social

activities. Esp. in America, invite somebody means you are borrow times

of others. So they respect time very much. While in China, people are

prefer to an uninvited guest. And otherwise, You will be thought

unfriendly if you cannot receive an uninvited guest very well.


In China, we always say“你辛苦了!、        ”to show our

consideration when somebody from far place. While the westerners do it

in a different way. They will say "How is your trip? "You must be very

interesting." These sentences are all express in psychological aspect.

Concerning the old people is the virtue of human race. But different

cultures have different styles. In China, people will say“您年纪大了,你

  ”when they 让座 to a old man. But this is regardedas taboo.


Different cultural factors may result in cultural differences, and

consequently,the acknowledgment of the factors that affect the cultural

differences will facilitate the understanding of such differences, part of

which will vie discuss in the followings. Since it is impossible to cover all

of the factors in this thesis, the factors discussed here are some important

ones. Factors affect cultural differences1. Cultural Background One of the

cultural different reasons between China and western is cultural

background. In Spring and Autumn and Warring s periods of China

emerged Confucianism, Taoism and other ideologies .As different

ideologies developed and combated each other, the basic framework of

Chinese civilization was established. And then Confucianism became the

foundation stone of Chinese philosophy system. Confucianism's central

doctrine is that of the virtue of Ren. What is Ren? Ren is translated

variously as goodness, benevolence, humanity and human-heartedness. In

short, Ren means affection and love. For more than 2 thousand years it

has molded and shaped the civilization of China and exerted a profound

influence upon almost one fourth of human race. Just as DR. Sun-Yat-Sen

said:” Therefore the old morals of loyalty and piety, affection, and love,

faithfulness and righteousness, are superior to those of the foreign

countries Let alone that peace and harmony. These high standards of

morals are our national spirit. "Different from China, Christianity plays

an important role in western. The English speaking countries are

generally considered as Christian countries where manypeople believe in

Christianity. Christianity is the region based on the life and teaching of

Jesus Christ. He is the founder of Christianity. According to the doctrine

of Christianity, the Trinity is the union of the three forms of God, the Son

and the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ the son of the God, and the holy book of

Christianity is the Bible, which consists of the Old Testament and the

New Testament. However, the power of the church cannot compare with

the past time, it still influence many aspects of people 's daily life. For

example, there are a few important festivals in the western is concern

with Jesus Christ. Christmas day is a festival in celebration of the birth of

the Jesus Christ on Dec.25.Virgin Birth refers to the birth of Christ, which

Christians believe to have been causedby God rather than by ordinary

sexual union.

2. Different valuesAnother cultural different reasons between China and

western is different value The concept of Chinese values is often

consciously or unconsciously placed in opposition with Western values.

Therefore, it is necessary to determine how peopledefine Western values.

Some have stated that the modern Western value system originated in

Victorian England, and describe it as social norms and behaviors common

in European people during that time. The core of Western values is

individualism. David Hitchcock described Western values from a Chinese

perspective. He said that, from the Chinese viewpoint, Western values

have three levels: 1) physical level – science, technology, business, public

administration, and modern capitalist economics; 2) conceptual level –

equal opportunity, the role of law; and time management; and 3) core

values – open debate, equality, balance of power; free speech, and

democracy. The core of the Chinese value has some relationship with the

Confucianism. The ethnic principle of Confucianism is its discovery of

the ultimate in the moral character of human relationships in which

Confucius offered the solution for the ills and evils of his days. That is the

well-known Five Relationships: ruler-minister, father-son, husband-wife,

elder-younger brother and friend-friend. This was explained as“There

should be affection between father and son , righteous sense of duty

between ruler and minister, division offunction between man and wife,

stratification between old and young, and good faith between

friends.”During the more than two thousand years of the feudal period,

the ruling class arrange every thing by this relationships, and then formed

a class society. In this kind of society, a minister owes loyalty to his ruler,

and a child filial respect to his parent. The result is the humanity is

neglected and people have no equality. Different from China, in the

Renaissance period of England, people began to emphasize the dignity of

human beings and the importance of the present life, they voiced their

beliefs that man did not only have the right to enjoy the beauty of their

life, but also have the ability to perfect themselves and perform

wonders.This is the rudiment of Humanism. People became respect the

humanity from then on. And then develop into the ideas of what we

always said freedom, democracy. Today, take Americans for instance; the

top personal values were self-reliance, hard work, and a tie between

achieving success in life, personal achievement, and helping others. Hard

work, respect for learning, honesty, and self-reliance were most valued

among Chinese people. In terms of social values, the top six for

Americans were freedom of expression, personal freedom, rights of the

individual,open debate; thinking for oneself, and official accountability.

The top six social values for Asian people were maintenance of an orderly

society, harmony, accountability of public officials, openness to new

ideas, freedom of expression, and respect for authority. This study finds

that unlike Americans, East Asians are generally more respectful of

authority and prize an orderly society, however in concurrence with the

West, Asians honor new ideas, official accountability, and free


3.Individualism and Collectivism

Individualism refers to the doctrine that the rights of the individual are the

most important ones in a society. Most westerners believe that each

person has his own separate identity and personality, which should be

recognized and reinforced. Therefore, one cannot comprehensive western

and its people without understanding individualism. Only with the

cognition      of    individualism   can   we   understandhow     westerners

conceptualize family, friendships, and privacy. The core of individualism

is the pursuit of personal and achievements. It is highly valued, earnestly

believes and well appreciated as a fundamental social virtue. In

Christianity traditions, individuals are important not only to each other,

but also to the society and God. Individualism has been handed down

from their ancestors. Therefore, to westerners, individualism is not

selfishness but rather virtue. They emphasize individualism so much that

they believe that there must be something wrong with someone who fails

to demonstrate individualism. That likes the sentence“God helps those

who     help        themselves.”However    to   Chinese     people    ,   the

word“individualism”is related to the derogatory meaning as egoism, with

represents selfishness in quality and looseness in discipline. In traditional

Chinese beliefs, esp. in Confucianism, collectivism is appreciated. It

emphasizes cooperation among group members and individual success is

due to the collective effort of the staff in a unit, an organization or a

community. The sacrifice of individual interest for that of the collective is

a noble quality eulogized so much by Chinese people that being modest

and thoughtful of others are highly praised.

4. FamilyWestern families advocate equality. The husband and the wife

usually have an equality voice in decision-making, and on certain matters,

the children, too, have a vote. Family members are regarded as friend and

they should treated equality in daily life. In the western, most old people

do not live with their children orrelatives. If they have enough money

they will buy house or apartments in places where other old people

live .If they do not healthy and strong enough to live alone, they would

rather live in nursing houses for old people than be taken by their children.

Therefore they want to stay young because youth stands for hope and

energy, which can help them make some positive changes in life.

Moreover, they do not like to grow old because they will not gain honor,

respect or attention as old people. Case are different in China, where most

Chinese family members tend to live together and the young are supposed

to show respect and obedience to old people. Generally, old people

receive honor, privilege and satisfaction since people believe that an old

person is a wise man full of experience. The typical example is that the

oldest person is the most respected not only in the family but also in the

neighborhood. Just as Confucianism shows in Five Relations, the young

should filial love, obedience and duty to the old in a family, esp. in the

relationship between children and parents. For example, the Chinese who

have moved abroad usually continue to send money back to their parents

as a token of their filial piety. Moreover, many young people still try to

live near their parents whenever possible even after they are marriage.

Westerners stress individualism in families while Chinese stress coalition,

which makes the Chinese family extremely cohesive. Family members

depend on each other for support and they are required to show loyalty to

the family and bring demonstrated virtuous behavior, then the whole

family loses face. The meaning of “face” should view in relation to the

gain or loss of the social status of the family, not just of the individual.

That is to say that Chinese culture emphasizes the collective quality in the

nature of individual’s life and behavior. Generally speaking, the

Chinesehave a stronger sense of family honor than westerners.


The fifth reason is the nationalism. Since the ancient China, the nation

form of China is based solely on the Han nationality. What we said social

etiquette standards are also based solely on The Han nationality. The Han

nationality developed their privities in the language expression and social

contact during the common life and work of their forefathers in the

history. Just a subtle facial expression or a slight action can express some

meanings. People can understand what you want to say when you say half

of you comment or just say a little things .Sopeople do not need to say all

their intention when they express their own feelings. While in western,

take the America for instance; America is a immigrant country which has

more than 2 hundred years history. However, people in America still

cannot reach privities. They must express clearly what they thought, want.

Only by this way can the others understand very well. So their language

must speak

out what they have to say.


How to Learn Western Culture1. Establish a right attitude toward cultural

differencesAttitude is a manner of feeling and behaving. It can form a

part of one’s perception of self, of others, and of the culture in which one

is living. A foreign language learner should set up a right attitude toward

different culture. i.e., to be open-minded to them. Prejudice should be

avoided. Prejudice in culture refers to an intolerant, unfair or biased

attitude toward another culture. Regardless of the existence of Prejudice,

cross-cultural communication may become difficult because it stands in

the way of acquired knowledge in it. When facing a new culture, people

should be flexible and able to adapt themselves to the new situation.“Do

as the Romans do is an effective way for those who are experiencing

cultural differences. Therefore., being open-minded to cultural difference

is a prerequisite to a successful communication with native speakers.

2. Reading extensively for cultural informationHaving the successful

communication is the main purpose of English. The culturalinformation

that the students need in authentic communication greatly exceeds that

covered in any courses. To developed people’s communication

competence, people should read authentic materials such as foreign

newspapers, advertisements, journals, short stories, novels, plays and

other types of literature works. Literary works are of great significance to

foreign language learners. In many cultures, particularly those whose

languages are widely taught, literature performs an important role in

society. They can reflect a culture, help readers gain deeper insights into

the target society, enable them to have a better understanding go the

national character of the people who produce the literature, and of the

values they cherish. If we regard literature as a treasures house, then

paying a visit to it will enable us to absorb cultural information stored in

it. Informative works relevant to national character studier are another

source   of    cultural   information.    Historians,   sociologists    and

anthropologists, who engage themselves in the study of the target society,

usually write these books. Foreign language learners can benefit a lot

from these books since the books provide them with a detailed

explanation of the people’s character in the target culture. There aresome

other reading materials, which are related closely to our daily life, suchas

newspapers and magazines. Because most contents of these materials are

authentic, they expose to us various cultural backgrounds, ranging from

geography, history, customs, religion and philosophy, to entertainment,

fashion and tourism. This kind of reading materials will help foreign

learners get a better understanding of the target culture and keep a keen

eye on it.

3.Learn culture through TV and moviesIt is even more so for western

culture learners because they come to know the truth of native speakers’

behaviors on the screen. Foreign language learners can

get a vivid picture of what the people’s life is like in the target culture.

With the popularity of TV, they can obtain news all over the world, watch

and enjoy movies in original versions of the target language at home.

Such movies help foreign language learners with their vocabulary,

listening ability as well as their awareness of cultural differences. Form

the observation through the media, the features of everyday situations

will impress them, such as, sightseeing, telephoning, shopping, or asking

directions. What they have learned from books can beverified by the

performance of the native speakers. While enjoying the attractive

performance, language learners have to observe details of everyday

situations, in case of greeting, farewell, compliment, apology,

requirement, etc. Though the media people can learn the polite behavior,

etiquette, means to solve conflicts, techniques of negotiation, debates,

ways of show love, dating and so on. Movies can also improve

cross-cultural communication by conveying the important values,

communication styles and so on. After watching movies, foreign

language learners may take notes of their observations, and supplement

the findings and talkwith those who have shared the same movies so that

they can apply what they have learned to real cross-cultural

communication someday.

4.Attend lectures on cultureForeign language learners should attend

lectures on culture given by foreign teachers or those who have

experience in foreign countries. Some lectures may be centered on the

target culture while others may be a comparison between two cultures.

Whichever lecture the learners attend, it may increase their cultural

awareness through the description of different cultures and the techniques

for proper behavior in cross-cultural communication. Participating in

discussions after thelecture will reinforce the cultural information they

have got from the lecture.What’s more, such discussions can reveal the

relation between value systems and people’s behavior in social activities.

5.Communicate with native speakersForeign language learners can go to

English Corners to learn culture. While communication with people from

the other culture, students are easily hesitating to speak. They often ask

themselves questions like these, “I wonder whether they will like me?

Suppose they disagree with my arguments? What if they misinterpret

what I say? What if I say something inappropriate? ”When a westerner

greets Chinese people, some to them pretend that they have not heard of it,

or bow their head keeping silent. Some of them smile shyly and quickly

go away. All these would make the westerner embarrassed. So Chinese

must try to talk to westerners and take advantage of every opportunity to

talk with foreign teachers and students available in a relaxed atmosphere.

They will benefit from such talks since they can not only practice

language, but also observe native speakers’ behavior and exchange their

feelings about cultural differences with native speakers. While they attend

classes given by foreign teachers, observation and exchange of feelings

are of the same importance. Foreign language learners should not hesitate

to ask foreigners questions concerning cultural differences, and foreigners

may like to answer them since they equally eager to know such

differences, which have much to do with their life in China.


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