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China has more than 5,000 years of civilization. The Chinese communication methods are quite different from those of other countries, leading to difficulties in negotiations with the Chinese. Having a good understanding of Chinese cultural idiosyncrasies is crucial and can affect the outcome of negotiations. This article aims to study Chinese negotiation styles by linking Hofstede’s cultural dimensions with a collection of Chinese philosophies, e.g. Confucianism, Taoist philosophy, and the classic Chinese text on the Art of War.
The Chinese have no fixed negotiation style. It is a combination of different roles. The doctrines of ancient Chinese philosophy that influence Chinese thinking include: the concept of honor, collectivism, guanxi (relationships), harmony, compromise, saving face, and the need for victory. The Chinese negotiation style is made up of a combination of the following: (1) a focus on respecting the honor of the negotiating partners; (2) the requirement that the resolution comes from a joint decision; (3) a focus on a compromise in which strategy is used to persuade the opponent to agree in order to win; (4) the belief in flexibility of the rules on the basis of circumstances; (5) a focus on long-term relationships; (6) not revealing direct emotions; and (7) modern Chinese people negotiate through compromise, but always insist on principles.
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