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Cultural Differences: USA vs China

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    Today, globalization is used to describe very active communication activities between countries and regions of the world. It uses a multi-dimensional form to connect people and things without being limited by time and space, and penetrates into all aspects of life, from politics to finance, from information to ideology, from media to technology. In addition to the changes brought about by this dynamic international exchange, many organizations that are no longer isolated and fixed have also begun to ride on this train, stretching their paws to all corners of the world. One of the challenges faced by these multinational companies is the prospect of further decentralization of labor and similar complexity in various cultural contexts. After all, in a multi-national environment, language barriers, cultural differences, and value differences can easily cause unnecessary misunderstandings and poor internal communication(). This leads to conflicts between employees and loss of profitability for organizational productivity. Therefore, effective communication between people from different cultural backgrounds is very important for American companies that want to develop in the Chinese market, benefit from multiculturalism and avoid possible side effects.

    Hofstede’s Model

    At 80, China ranked first in the industrial development index. The company believes that inequality between people is acceptable. Dependence tends to be polarized and does not prevent bosses from abusing power. People are affected by power and formal sanctions, and in general they are optimistic about their ability to take initiative and initiative. People should not have desires beyond their expectations. China’s individualism score of 20 is precisely a collective culture in which people work for the benefit of the group rather than for their own benefit. Considerations within groups can affect employment and promotion, and the nearest groups (such as families) receive preferential treatment. Employees participate in the organization (but not necessarily members of the organization). Relationships with colleagues work with internal teams, but are repressive or hostile to external teams. Interpersonal relationships dominate mission and business. At 66, China is a successful and success-oriented masculine society. Many Chinese sacrifice family and leisure priorities at work, which explains the need to ensure success. Service staff will be available until midnight. Free time is not so important. Migrant farm workers leave their families to find better jobs in cities and pay. As another example, Chinese students are very interested in test scores and scores. Because this is the main criterion for success. At 30, China’s scores are low in avoiding uncertainty. The truth may be relative, but in a direct social circle, the capital T and many rules (but not necessarily laws) are indeed interested in the truth. However, compliance with laws and regulations is flexible in reality, and reality is reality. The Chinese are satisfied with the mystery. Chinese has many mysterious meanings that people may find difficult to understand. Chinese people are adaptable and aggressive. Most Chinese companies (70% -80%) tend to small, medium and family businesses. China’s long-term trend has scored 87 points, which means it is a very practical culture. In a behavior-oriented society, it is believed that the truth depends to a large extent on the situation, circumstances and time. It shows the ability to easily adapt traditions to changing environments, trends in preservation and investment, and trends in preserving and obtaining results. China is a bound society with only 24 points in indulgence. This lesser society tends to get rid of laughter and pessimism. In addition, unlike tolerant societies, restricted societies place less emphasis on leisure and cannot control the realization of their needs. People who take this approach feel that their behavior is limited by social norms and believe that having fun is not right.

    The small degree of power distance (40), coupled with one of the most individualist (91), reflects the U.S. assumption of ‘freedom and justice for all.’ Witness the clear affirmation of equal rights in all aspects of American society and government. Within the US organization, a convenient hierarchy has been created where bosses and managers can gain experience based on employees and individual teams. Managers and employees want to consult with them and exchange information frequently. At the same time, communication is informal, direct and participatory. The Americans are very social, however, developing deep friendships is often difficult, especially for men. Americans are used to doing business and interacting with strangers. As a result, Americans do not obtain or seek information with potential partners. In USA, the degree of masculinity is 62, which can be seen in the typical American behavior pattern. This can be explained by combining a highly masculine engine with the world’s most unique engine. In other words, Americans show a man’s personality. In avoiding uncertainty, the USA scored below average with a score of 46. As a result, the perceived environment of Americans has a greater impact on their behavior. The desire to try new things, new ideas, innovative products, technologies, business practices and food has been accepted. Americans are more tolerant of ideas and opinions than anyone else, and tend to recognize freedom of speech. At the same time, Americans don’t need many rules and are not as comprehensive as high culture. In long-term orientation, USA has scored 26-point which is relatively low. It turns out that Americans can easily analyze new information and verify its correctness. Therefore, culture is not practical for most Americans, but should not be confused with the fact that Americans are very practical, which is reflected in the above-mentioned ‘feasibility’ mentality. US companies measure short-term performance and release quarterly profit and loss data. It also motivates people to seek quick results at work. The USA is registered as a pampering company (68). This is reflected in the following situations and conflicts of action. Work hard, work hard. The USA has started a war on drugs, but it is still too busy, but the drug use rate is higher than in many rich countries. This is a conservative community, but some well-known TV communicators seem immoral.

    Hall’s Low and High Context

    In the USA, personality has been greatly appreciated, and members have learned to express aspirations and personal achievements related to the purpose of the group. People in these cultures tend to use contextual communication, where blocks of information are turned into explicit code. Low-context cultures prefer a method of communication in which information is embedded in the message and detailed context is provided in the context of the conversation. In short, just like in USA, people are factual, direct, and realistic and can provide enough evidence. In this culture, members tend to speak and express positive and negative emotions, often providing sufficient information and a strong will to support their point of view. On the other hand, Chinese culture is strongly influenced by collectivism, with particular emphasis on the development and maintenance of harmony between human and social relations, and tends to communicate in high-context. Most of the information is in the physical environment or in the human body, but rarely in the encrypted, explicit, and transmitted parts of the message. In high-context culture such as Chinese, most information is environment-related, communication is scarcely available, and there is little information to transmit. They tend to use more abstract and indirect models and do not allow others to make inferences based on context, thereby protecting personal relationships from shame and discord. As a result, members of this culture prefer to use and communicate indirect messages in an abstract and implicit way. By using this social model, they can preserve the faces of others and avoid conflicts.

    Consumers Behavior

    In USA, customers appear to be more direct and aggressive, regardless of positive or negative opinions, while Chinese counterparts have developed indirect means of communication and implicit information. In Chinese culture, openness is sometimes considered positive, but sometimes they are considered negative, especially when it comes to negative emotions, this may explain why Chinese customers sometimes expresses themselves in an abstract style. Another aspect of the impact of culture on consumer behavior is the widespread use of first-person pronouns and the self-referencing in USA compared to Chinese. According to the concepts of Newman al et. (2003), the use of the first personal pronoun is a way to declare ownership of the phrase, which can interpret as an exchange group or company with relatively high individualist as nature of Americans. American consumers focus on being recognized by others in terms of personal achievements, ideas, and skills. Moreover, Chinese consumers may prefer to buy anything (like coffee, t-shirts, etc.) at 28 instead of buying similar at 24, because in Chinese culture 4 is an unfortunate number and 8 is a lucky number, this may explain why most Chinese stocks ending in ‘8’ sell faster.

    Guidelines for Best Practices

    Generally, the key to solving the problem is not to make the interlocutor accept their culture, but to make people understand and respect the interlocutor’s culture as much as possible. First, people should be aware of the use of words and avoid using informal language. If you really don’t know, it is also necessary not to have any ideas about your interlocutor. To ensure that the message is not misunderstood, people should ask others to collect what they say. Also, avoid using multiple body languages. Secondly, as the old proverb says, do it in Rome like the Romans. When entering foreign countries, people must respect local culture and observe local customs. In companies and schools, people must follow the rules of the company and the school. Also, if people cannot accept different customs and traditions, then it is best to make up their minds. Finally, transnational education or cross-cultural training programs play an important role in companies and institutions where employees can understand different cultures, better communicate with foreigners and build good business relationships.


    When different cultures interact, many problems arise, such as language, attitudes to time, personal space and relationships. Effective solutions are needed because these issues can lead to misunderstandings and disappointments on both sides and business failure. The main method is to understand and respect different cultures. As globalization becomes inevitable in many regions today, intercultural communication has become more frequent and common. China and USA are two different countries with two different cultures, so it is best to consider these differences when doing business in one country. For best results and achievements when doing business, people must be ‘open’ to the new cultures.

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