China Negotiation Paper Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Introduction

China is a country with a rich history behind them and their specific culture is strong and vivacious in all its elements. Most of China’s business practices and corporate cultural elements differ from the rest of the world especially the western bloc which follows a more relaxed philosophy at work. The Chinese, on the other hand, are more rigid towards their work and business and relaxation are deemed to be two different spheres of life. When conducting business with China (and the probability of doing so is high as it is an emerging economy as mentioned above) it is vital to understand the common practicing customs in order to avoid any embarrassing situations, show respect to your counterparts and help diffuse any negotiations being conducted.

Business practices and etiquette

Chinese culture is tightly woven with the teachings of Confucius, which is why they rank high in being a collectivist society rather than an individualistic society, where everyone takes responsibility for each other. The respect and reverence shown for hierarchies is apparent within all the business etiquettes which are also identified by China ranking high on accepting power distances (acceptance to inequalities in relationships). Conducting business with someone means that ultimately you will have to conduct a business meeting with them which in China is more ritualistic and formal in nature with certain guidelines that need to be addressed and followed. Punctuality is a value emphasized in Chinese meetings and it is greatly appreciated if it is followed by the contenders. When the date is being set for a meeting it is important to ensure that it does not coincide with any religious or national holidays as during these dates the country is engrossed in the festivities as well as the residents.

When the date for the meeting is set, in preparing for the meeting, care must be taken to cover all the possible aspects that may be discussed within the meeting as your Chinese counterparts would be highly prepared too. Appearing misinformed or vague would give an impression of not being interested in doing business when the case might be the opposite.

The concept of Guanxi is also important to realize before heading into a business meeting as described by John L. Graham and N. Mark Lam in their HBR article “the Chinese negotiation” dated October 2003. Guanxi that loosely translates into personal connections is much more than simply networking and socializing rather it is a genuine value placed upon investing your time and energy i.e. social capital into the people you meet. The better your Guangxi the more likely the business transaction would be a success. With the intention of forming Guangxi with your business contenders, it will have a better probability of being a success in comparison to its absence. Moving on to the actual communication process in the meeting it is always recommended by different experts and analysts to have a interpreter in the room to prevent any erroneous understanding to be formed which could nullify the intentions of both parties. Along with an interpreter if the material is in the local language i.e. Chinese is made available then the understanding between both parties would be further enhanced. As when the Chinese delegation returns, to their superiors who may not possess the same level of English as them, they could be easily persuaded by using the Chinese language materials such as brochures and presentations to win them over.

When preparing for a business meeting, adhering to the dress code is an important aspect to be considered, and the case is not any different when it comes to attending a Chinese meeting. Unlike the casual dress code which is popular in countries like USA and Canada, the Chinese pride in dressing formally especially at the upper levels and any governmental officials.

Conservative dressing is encouraged for both men and women as dress code is perceived as a way of conveying respect and diligence towards the opposite party. It is most likely that a business meeting would not commence without the preliminary introductions, which in China holds a higher status and deeper meaning when forming any associations.................................

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