Confucian Influence On Business Relations

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Empirical focus
The empirical focus of this paper is that the role of personal relations has more impact than the rules or principles on Chinese modern business relations. Under the influence of close interpersonal relationship from Confucianism, traditional moral standards, and historical war stratagems, personal relations become the critical factor instead of legal instruments in the business process.
First, Confucianism served as the core value of Chinese society for more than two thousand years and remain its influence on Chinese business behavior today. Interpersonal relationships, a key feature of Confucianism, strongly affect people’s willingness to do business with others. Different from the phenomenon that relationships often grow
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Face plays important roles in all of the three listed aspects of personal relations. Gaining or losing face is the critical factor that decides both of the Chinese’s social and business behaviors.
While the Westerners consider the business content as the most important factors in the negotiation process, Chinese people believe in Confucianism which states that providing personal favors is the cornerstone of the business. The dynamics of face play a role in the interpersonal relationships, which determine people’s willingness to bargain or cooperate in business. During communications, Chinese businessmen use indirectness, praising, intermediaries, shaming, and requests to save face and give face (Cardon & Scott,
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Many westerners find Chinese negotiators to be inefficient, indirect, and even dishonest; Chinese negotiators frequently perceive their western counterparts to be aggressive, impersonal, and insincere. Deception is controversial in terms of losing face because using tricks or deception to defeat a stronger enemy can sometimes be justified in Chinese literature. Although deception is considered as unethical in Confucian value, it can be righteous when facing particularly more powerful and hostile opponents according to Sun Tzu’s book Art of War. In competition, there is no absolute superiority and inferiority according to Sun Tzu’s thinking on relativism (Chen, 2004). Consequently, instead of losing face, an individual can gain face by using strategy to defeat a much powerful enemy in accordance with many ancient Chinese literatures. According to Luo’s research in 2002, building trust has a positive effect on business agreements when the market is uncertain. Therefore, a large amount of time and effort need to be put in to gain the trust from the Chinese businessmen under the historical influence of war stratagems. In Chinese history, intermediaries such as middleman are often used to avoid conflicts. Large effort was put in to maintain the peaceful relations with other nations, such as marrying princesses to border nations’

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