The Chinese culture - Sample Essay

One of the biggest differences between the Chinese and British management style is that Chinese companies are much more hierarchic than British companies and employees in China are used to tight control and receiving orders. The participation of employees in the decision making process does not really exist and this is important if Tetley wants to set up in China because they will need to adapt to the Chinese style in order to run a profitable business in China.

The differences in management styles is relevant if Tetley decides to set up in China and needs to be taken into consideration before this decision is made. Tetley will not be able to set up in China on their own, as mentioned prior, and therefore they will need to merge and co-operate with a Chinese company. When they are to negotiate with a Chinese company there are a few things that is very important to bear in mind.

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The Chinese culture of business behaviour can be included in the category of relationship-focused (Guan xi), formal, monochromic and reserved and the British culture of business behaviour would fall into deal-focused, moderately and monochromic. Meaning that people in China who are relationship-focused get things done by using their connections such as relatives, friends and different contacts and it will be almost impossible for Tetley to merge with a Chinese company without building up the right relationship to a Chinese company or using other connections to be introduced to the right people.

Tetley therefore needs to do a lot of research before they contact a Chinese company also for the need in finding the right person to negotiate with (a person who is part of the decision making process and this will always be one of the Superiors). It will be a good idea for Tetley to approach the potential partner indirectly for example through a trade mission or a third-party. Moving on from looking on differences in the business behaviour we shall now apply the emotional differences according to Bjrn Bjerke.

Cultures may stress various parts of the body. For British, probably the ‘heart’ is important (that is where their feelings are supposed to be); for 9Japanese, it is the ‘stomach’ (the centre of harmony). An important aspect of Chinese culture is ‘face’. (Bjerke, 1999) The Chinese concept of face has two meanings, one concerns a person’s moral character and honour, the other connotes reputation and prestige. Both are important in social interactions considering the importance of recognition by others in Chinese culture.

‘Face’ however, enters more into everyday transactions as a form of social currency. Chinese fear of losing face is the stress of Chinese culture and this makes it difficult for them to admit a mistake or to ask for help. Also Chinese people are not happy to be told how to do things, especially in view of public. This particularly applies to the relationship between the employees and the employers within an organisation and explains why there is big uncertainty avoidance in Chinese culture. Whereas, in the UK the culture stress may be the ‘guilt’ which carries a sense of individual responsibility and conscience.


Having conducted intensive analysis as to whether Tetley should open a subsidiary in China, we believe that they should go ahead and pursue the business internationally. However, if Tetley decide to further their business opportunities, they should take into consideration the following factors. Although there are differences in tea consumption, China has a big demanding market for English tea.

A large number of young Chinese people studying or working in the UK have adapted to parts of the English culture, for example having English breakfast with English tea, and they will bring these traditions back to China when they return. * It is vital for Tetley to understand and respect the Chinese culture and business etiquette’s. In China Tetley will face a problem of high power distance and a large uncertainty avoidance, which they are not used to in UK. Therefore they will have to adjust their management style so that it suits the Chinese employees.



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