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The China Onion Model

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    As we learnt in CCA, collectivism is natural and means that people will stay loyal to their in-group in return for acceptance and protection. Most societies are collectivistic with a few individualist exceptions. The biggest difference is that in individualistic societies, people tend to think only about themselves and their nuclear family. While collectivistic societies stress relationships and the bigger context to maintain happiness in their family and community. The way most collectivistic societies maintain order is by everyone sticking to the status quo.

    It is frowned upon to do something out of the ordinary in collectivist society. China would be seen as a collectivistic country. Its long history has consistently showed small in-groups and communities sticking together. It is a country that since ancient times has been rural for the majority. In China, the community man is valued. This means that when you suppress your own feelings for the benefit of the community, you are a good citizen and role model. This dates back to the teachings of Confucianism where it taught that helping your family and community was the most important thing you can do.

    There is a small conflict with the index score according to Hofstede. China has an individualism score of 20. This is far too low, as in recent years the country is moving in the direction of being more individualistic (especially cities). This recent surge of becoming more individualistic is directly an effect of the focus on the Chinese economy. The Chinese economy is growing, and the government is focusing a lot of attention on maintaining that growth. Mainly in the cities is China less collectivistic, while in rural China nothing has changed among villages because they have not felt the direct impact of economic growth.

    Ritual: In 1978 a series of laws and policies were passed the put China on a road with individualism in its future. These policies reduced the grip on social and collectvistic processes. The policies are in line with the shift in thinking about wealth. Personal monetary wealth had never been important in Chinese society until the economic boom where merchants started gaining more power. Before that, merchants were at the bottom while the farmers and artisans had been higher on the social hierarchy just under scholars and beaurocrats. These policies have started pushing China away from collectivism slightly.

    This ritual is difficult to classify under going with or against the values of the culture. This is a policy, and policies change while values remain. China remains collectivistic but this is a policy that has put China on the road for their value to change towards more collectivistic. This policy goes against the collectivistic values that China has always had, as it is individualistic. In Chinese society the elderly are given a huge amount of respect. China is a graying population as there are some dire forecasts for the future of China and how the government will provide social care to the growing ageing population.

    In 1996 a new amendment had been proposed to give parents the ability to sue their children if they don’t visit. The law mandates that children regularly visit their parents when they have reached old age. The law was strongly supported and received a lot of backing by many Chinese groups. The law has still yet to pass as the People’s Republic of China has still yet to make a decision on it. Elders have always relied on a social support system by their families. The one child policy has reduced the chance of having a son to care for the parents.

    The proposal of this law goes with the collectivistic values of China as they care and show great respect for the elderly. The older you are, the wiser and more respect you receive in collectivistic cultures such as China. They want to provide as many benefits to elders as possible, which goes with the Chinese values. Hero: Han Dongfang gained prominence as a railway worker in Beijing. He formed the first railway workers union in an effort to get more working benefits. He has been banned from the country and he has been banned from all Chinese media.

    He was imprisoned for 22 months for speaking out against the Chinese government and has been expelled to Hong Kong. Han Dongfang is a hero who goes against the collectivistic values of China. He is very individualistic as he upsets the harmony by going against the government. Normal labor workers keep their head low and don’t speak up. Confucious was a Chinese poet, teacher, and philosopher during the Qin dynasty (551 BC). He is the main author the five Chinese classic texts. Confucious’s principles had a basis in common chinese tradition and are still very important to todays Chinese society.

    He taught strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, and for children to respect their elders. Confucious’ texts were the basis of Confucianism, which is a big part of Chinese society. Confucious’ teachings about family loyalty correspond and agree with the Chinese collectivistic values. He is an important figure and has had an influence on creating and promoting collectivistic ideals for the last 2500 years. Symbol Scholarships are a very important aspect of Chinese culture. Since the time of confucious, the Chinese have been centered around education.

    There is a reason why the Chinese spent countless hours more in the classroom than their western counterparts. Chinese society, being collectivistic, shows respect and rank for educated scholars. Education has been the only way to move up in the social hierarchy. It has been a great sense of pride for Chinese families when their sons achieve well and get a scholarship. Scholarships and education are a national symbol for pride, which go and agree with the collectivistic values of China. Education is valued in their way of life. Collectivism has always been a big part of Chinese Society.

    The loyalty to the in-group has been an aspect that has remained. As a nation it has also been wary of outsiders. A colossal example of this is the Great Wall of China. The wall was built in mainly a time of peace, but was built to block off the Chinese territory. Its goal was to keep Mongolian nomads from entering China. With collectivism, comes xenophobia. The Great Wall still towers as a fence between China and Mongolia. The collectivistic mindset dates back to the beginning of the great wall, and the Great Wall symbolizes the collectivistic mindset when it comes to outsiders.

    The Great Wall of China agrees with collectivistic values of China as it was built to keep out Mongolians, who were not in their in-group. Today China is more connected with the rest of the world, which is an byproduct of their growing economy. The value of only trusting the in-group remains as relationships are valued. Individualism vs. Collectivism Onion Model Human Nature: Since the dawn of time humans have travelled in groups or families. This is still the case with other primates such as Gorillas and Orangutans. Loyalty to each other is the most important factor of this group mentality.

    This is a survival method and is human nature. The individual shows loyalty to the group in return for protection. Some cultures have shifted from this mentality and have become more individualistic. Geography and climate plays a big role in how collectivistic a country is. It is natural to prefer a brotherhood where you are equal, then to risk standing out and being humiliated for doing something different or taboo. Country: China is a very rural country and has an Individualism score of 20. The reason that there is such strong collectivism is partly due to the fact that it is very rural, so everyone had always worked together.

    Individuals worked together for the greater cause of the community. In Chinese society collectivism has a long history based on Confucianism, where it taught that being a community man or someone with a “social personality” is valued. It was taught that being a good person meant that you were involved and helping family and community. In contrast with Confucianism is Taoism. China is very rapidly changing from being a collectivistic country to more individualistic. Taoism spread the message that if each individual is happy, you have a happy state.

    The teachings went on to oppose the numerous Chinese laws that regulate the individual. The one child policy act in China is contributing to the rise in individualism as each child is deemed as being special. It is still a collectivistic country, but with time it will be an individualistic one. When an American is shown a picture of a chicken, cow and hay and told put together he usually picks the cow and chicken as both are animals. When a Chinese or Asian person is asked to do the same task he usually picks the cow and the hay, since the cow need the hay to survive, thus stressing the relational aspects of the picture.

    The conclusion here is that Americans tend to categorize things will Asians stress relationships. Case: In this case, it agrees with the values of the country. Rural china is more collectivistic than the city. The case shows how the employees will not risk anything alone to work for better conditions. The employees all suffer together in the case, which agrees with the low collectivism of China, as this happens all over the country. The employees all suffer together and instead of speaking out, they put up with the conditions together.

    The case reports excessive hours of work with pay that is less than Chinese law requires (Little 2010). The employees suppress their own feelings and needs for the good of the group of fellow employees and to keep their job. The article states a union would be a huge benefit for employees of labor factories. The reason they are never formed, is that anyone attempting to stand out and resist, is quickly smashed down and put back in their place. It relates well to the Chinese proverb “the bird who sticks his head out gets shot. ” (Hays 2008).

    In a collectivistic society, this case is very common. It is very common in Chinese society for the workers to keep a brotherhood and all accept the tough conditions. They work as a team without any one being recognized for performing their task better than others. In the minds of the workers this system also provides protection for those who are not as skilled. It gives them comfort to know they will not be fired, even though they are still in uncomfortable situations dealing with dangerous chemicals without appropriate safety equipment (Little 2010).

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    The China Onion Model. (2016, Nov 10). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-china-onion-model/

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