Each corner of the world has developed their own culture that may be very different and sometimes similar to adjacent nations. Some however; are extremely different though there are not far apart. For example China and India in sectors like business, leadership styles, social structure and many other areas. China and India, two very distinct countries, appear to have more distinction than similarities in some of the mentioned sectors. The dissimilarities between China and India include social and individualism vs collectivism, language, celebration, wars between the two countries and their leadership styles.
The social structure of China is very different than ours here in America and other nations. When talking about leadership and how social structure relates to China and their own structure, one would be surprised while doing business if no preparations were done prior to doing business with China. Writer Rebecca Graf who is a seasoned writer with multiple degrees in history notes, In China, the social structure is formal and hierarchical…there is no crossing into other areas…there are very few lines that socially are not allowed to be crossed. This can cause problems in business relationships if the visiting culture is unaware of it” (Graf, 2019). The Chinese do things very differently and when doing business one has to ensure to not accidently insult them. What may seem normal to a specific culture may be offensive or perceived as something different than intended. The Chinese also see individualism very different than the west world.
Americans and other countries see individualism as a gateway to become better and is pushed forward in a positive way. In china the culture is to look beyond oneself and ensure actions are not affecting others. Graf notes in her articles that, “a person from China is more prone to look at how their acts affect the whole instead of how it affects them personally. They are more willing to give up and sacrifice for the greater good” (Graf, 2019). The Chinese culture dictates one should look towards the greater good and ensure actions do not affect others or if it does it does so in a positive manner. The people of China are seen as a more tranquil and forgiving people. One could argue America’s aggressive way of doing business has gotten us to the top if China is also a leader on the world stage and not having an aggressive approach while maintaining a collectivism approach.
When we think of India we generally tend to think of the vibrant culture and food like that of the traditional clothes and ways of the Indian people. The country of India is extensive in both the languages spoken and culture. According to LiveScience.com, India is among the world’s oldest civilizations… Different regions have their own distinct cultures, languages and religion…India has 28 states and seven territories but there is no official language as a country… Indian dance, music and theater traditions span back more than 2,000 years… societies outside of Europe or North America, or societies that did not follow the European or Western way of life, were considered primitive and culturally inferior” (Zimmermann, 2017). India has a very diverse and rich culture but a group majority of others see India as primitive. On the west side of the world we do not see the advancement of this nation but the ineffectiveness of government and the poorest of people. If given the chance to learn and understand India is also a powerhouse. In areas like leadership and people development China and India may be doing a better job than its counterparts.
Leaders in China view one another very differently than we do here in America or other countries. Chinese leaders see civic duty, respect and dignity as a way of life and is the way of their concept of leadership. While others drive their business practices with the thought that time is money leaders in China see to it their decisions are well planned. Barbara Wang, an expert in cross-cultural leadership at Ashridge Executive Education mentions, “Face has a much deeper meaning in China than in the West. Many Chinese will go to great lengths either to save face or to save someone else’s face. Face is about dignity and respect, and a person’s social role. It’s not just about feelings, but a key part of what holds society together… It’s an unwritten rule in China that if someone does not trust you, they are unlikely to do business with you” (Wang, 2018). Leaders in China are not as competitive as other leaders across the globe but show more respect and dignity towards others. When both parties want to do business Chinese leaders are not looking at the negative but the deal itself. Knowing that both parties are more apt to seeing if doing business with one another is best for both parties it focuses both parties on the contract rather than what the other might be up to. This is very similar to leaders in India who are taking more care of their employees than other leading nations.
India is making great strides in treating their employees right and making huge investments on its people. Leadership in countries where others may think there was a lack of leadership is paving the way for others to follow to see long term investments. In a research project that interviewed 98 of the largest Indian-based companies found a very common trend. In an article posted by the Harvard Business Review the authors noted, Indian leaders invest in people. Far more than their Western counterparts, these leaders and their organizations take a long-term, internally focused view. They work to create a sense of social mission that is served when the business succeeds. They make aggressive investments in employee development, despite tight labor markets and widespread job-hopping. And they strive for a high level of employee engagement and openness (Capelli et al., 2010). Leaders in India are invest far more than other leaders in other countries. They see their workforce as a gateway to profitability in the long run not the immediate future like most leaders do. There is not much worry about labor costs and other controllables when it comes to investing in its people.
Though there are what seems more differences between India and China business practices in these two countries have a different approach than that of other nations. These practices are viewed and practiced by all and has strong roots in their culture. If this way of doing business was adopted by companies here in the US it would not have the same effect since business practices here are different and our own culture and society rules makes us think otherwise.
Cappelli, Peter, et al. “Leadership Lessons from India.” Harvard Business Review, 8 July 2016, hbr.org/2010/03/leadership-lessons-from-india.
Graf, Rebecca. “13 Major Cultural Differences Between China and the United States.” Owlcation, 20 Mar. 2019, owlcation.com/social-sciences/10-Major-Cultural-Differences—China-and-the-United-States.
Wang, Barbara. “Chinese Leadership: 5 Critical Differences with the West.” IEDP, 1 Jan. 2018, www.iedp.com/articles/chinese-leadership-5-critical-differences-with-the-west/.
Zimmermann, Kim Ann. “Indian Culture: Traditions and Customs of India.” LiveScience, Purch, 21 July 2017, www.livescience.com/28634-indian-culture.html.