China has a variety of diverse cultures and having an insight into its core cultural values can be hugely beneficial for business and social interaction. The Open University’s (OU) new online short course provides a great opportunity to grow your understanding and build your network.
In 16 weeks, students will delve into the core values that permeate through Chinese society and business settings. As well as gaining an overview of Chinese culture, learners will also explore the role culture plays in language, how to build trust, the hierarchical society, the power of gift-giving and some useful Mandarin Chinese expressions to expand your vocabulary.
Dr Qian Kan, Head of Chinese at the OU, gives you a taste of the course, with a summary of some of the important cultural values that impact on human behaviour and interaction in China.
Is defined as the relationships or connections individuals cultivate with their counterparts. In China, business relations are socially embedded, with friendship at the forefront of any trade deal. In China, friendship leads to business whereas in the West, friendship is often formed from business.
Means to ‘keep face’ and is the act of avoiding embarrassment when a mistake is made. By making an individual lose face, risks the injured party not wanting to do business in the future. Typical actions that would offend a Chinese business person could include, pointing out mistakes; disagreeing with a senior executive in a meeting; over-use of humour; and pushing for a decision too soon.
Pre and post negotiation meals are common and are often seen as more valuable than formal meetings, as it allows for personal trust to be built and ‘guanxi’ to be formed.
Speaking the lingo
Speaking a little Chinese can go a long way and is a sign of respect, as it shows that you have taken an interest and time to understand Chinese culture. It can also be an ice-breaker, which will make working experiences more enjoyable as common ground can be established.
Chinese Business Culture Essentials is made up of four units of 8-9 hours of study. In total, the course will take around 36 hours and will be open for 16 weeks from the start date to allow flexibility to complete your studies at your own pace. With start dates on 27 February, 26 June and 30 October, visit the module site to find out more and register: http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/short-courses/lxc050