How to negotiate with Chinese managers

A short overview

Term Paper, 2002

9 Pages, Grade: 2,0 (B)


Table of content

1. Introduction

2. Overview of the structure

3. Greeting:
3.1 Name cards
3.2 Seating
3.3 Guanxi – relationship
3.4 Time

4. Meeting:
4.1 Discussion styles – consensus
4.2 Conflict situations
4.3 Contract

5. Conclusion


1. Introduction

Good negotiation skills are very important when doing business with people from other cultures.[1] People from different cultures have different expectations about negotiation outcomes and therefore use different negotiation styles.[2]

If you compare negotiation styles in Germany and China you will discover many differences. Most of these differences are due to the very different cultures of Germany on the one side and China on the other side.

The German culture is, referring to Fons Trompenaars, universalistic, collectivistic, diffuse and achievement- oriented.

The Chinese culture is characterized as particularistic, collectivistic, very diffuse and ascriptive culture.

In universalistic cultures such as Germany, there is only one truth and people rely on contracts. This means that focus is more on rules than on relationships.[3]

Particularistic cultures such as China put focus more on relationships than on rules that means that people rely on relationships rather than on contracts.[4]

China tends to be collectivistic.[5] China depends on collectivistic culture in all spheres of society and life for instance due to the Communist Party.

In Germany, collectivism can be seen in the social system, especially during trade union negotiations.[6] Business life in Germany relies more on individualistic culture.[7]

China is a very diffuse culture. This can be seen in the point that business and private life are closely linked in China.[8] Germany tends to be a rather specific culture compared to China.

The last dimension I want to mention is ascription versus achievement- orientation. Germany is an achievement-oriented culture. This is shown by the fact that “Respect for superior in hierarchy is based on how effectively his or her job is performed…”[9] In China as ascriptive- oriented culture “Respect for superior in hierarchy is seen as a measure of your commitment to the organization…”[10]

2. Overview of the structure

This paper analyzes possible steps in a negotiation between Germans and Chinese. It also gives some guidelines on how to avoid possible conflicts during such negotiations.

In the following I will assume that a young German manager visits China to sign a contract. Both the German and Chinese have never met before and have never had intercultural training. Since the Business English of all participants is good, a translator is not needed.

3. Greeting

3.1 Name cards

Both Chinese and German managers usually use name cards. When creating name cards Chinese use as much titles as possible to clarify their status in the organization.[11] In China being an ascriptive culture there is much emphasis on status. As Trompenaars points out, “Ascriptive cultures must be assured that your organization has great respect for you…”[12] In diffuse cultures such as China it is significant to connect someone’s status with his or her organization.[13]


[1] Adler, p.191

[2] Adler, p. 223

[3] Trompenaars, p. 48

[4] Trompenaars, p. 48

[5] Trompenaars, p. 57

[6] Nees, p.108

[7] Lang, p.122

[8] Trompenaars, p. 101

[9] Trompenaars, p. 118

[10] Trompenaars, p. 118

[11] Professor Yuan Libin

[12] Trompenaars, p. 111

[13] Trompenaars, p. 111

Excerpt out of 9 pages


How to negotiate with Chinese managers
A short overview
Furtwangen University  (Institute for Economics)
Managing Cultural Differences
2,0 (B)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
390 KB
China, kulturelle Unterschiede, Verhandlungen mit Chinesen, cultural differences, trade with china, chinese
Quote paper
Claudia Dreizler (Author), 2002, How to negotiate with Chinese managers, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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