Chinese-Western cultural dichotomies and their negative impact (#4: AUTHORITY)

Jun 06, 2020

Who do you trust to decide a fair outcome of a dispute?
Who do you listen to when there is doubt?

Protests in America Illustrate a Dichotomy

Americans are taught to obey the law and stay out of trouble. But for different demographic groups of Americans, obeying the authorities charged with enforcing the law is an entirely different experience that involves disparate levels of personal risk.
This is why #BLACKLIVESMATTER has become a movement that is embraced by all Americans and spreading quickly all over the world.
George Floyd's death has amplified an undercurrent of resentment to new heights, but this tragedy didn't expose anything new. As discussed in the Cultural Dichotomy of FAIRNESS, we need to consider historical context and systemic problems to discover a pathway towards greater social harmony.

The Chinese Mindset is a similar Dichotomy

According to the Confucian hierarchical system of maintaining social order, Chinese are taught since birth to obey the authorities rather than follow the literal interpretation of the law.
Traditionally, there is no such thing as due process or trial by jury. Even today, it is an open secret that strong Guanxi connections in China will result in more favorable rulings during any official legal proceeding.

Cultural Dichotomy #4: AUTHORITY

As a practical consideration doing business in China, it is always advisable to focus less on the specifics of rules, policies, and contractual obligations, and instead focus more on negotiating a mutually acceptable outcome, even when there seems to be nothing left to settle.

Entire Keynote (The China Leadership Dilemma, Cultural Dichotomies, Live Q&A)
Cultural Dichotomy #1TRUTH
Cultural Dichotomy #2TRUST
Cultural Dichotomy #3FAIRNESS
• Cultural Dichotomy #4: AUTHORITY
Cultural Dichotomy #5: NEGOTIATIONS

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