If she is reading, she has learned that I stop talking if I don't have eye contact with her. I have had several people tell me, when I stop talking because I no longer have eye contact, "Keep talking, I'm listening.
They were all panicked because I kept looking at my mother as I drove. They felt I was not looking at the road enough and thought we would drive off the mountain. I have a very high need for eye contact. Besides being a native Chilean, I have met, taught, been taught, roomed with, studied with, worked for, worked with, been supervised by, supervised, and been friends with Hispanics from almost every Spanish-speaking country in the world.
I have interviewed and done research among hundreds of Hispanic farm workers and have noticed no difficulties with poor eye contact or invasion of personal space. Nor have I ever had difficulties in these areas with people from other nations or cultures. Strong eye contact is partially a factor of shyness; partly a measure of how safe a person feels around another. If those who have written about poor eye contact on the part of Hispanics would walk down a mostly minority neighborhood at dusk, they may also find themselves looking at the ground and making less eye contact.
Cross-cultural observations can easily be tainted and contaminated by other factors. Perceived status differences can create barriers between cultures and even within organizations. For instance, farm managers, instructors, and foreign volunteers through universities, peace corps, farmer-to-farmer programs, etc. A person with this status differential will have to show, by word and action, that she values the potential contributions of those she works with. Until this happens she will only obtain compliance but never commitment.
At times, then, it may appear that some workers or students, especially when there are social or ethnic differences, do not participate as easily. This is not because they do not have ideas to contribute, but rather, because they may need a little convincing that their ideas would be valued.
Once this floodgate of ideas is opened, it will be difficult to stop it. In some sub-cultures, once a person has given an opinion, others are unlikely to contradict it. That is why some organizations ask their least senior employees to give an opinion first, as few will want to contradict the more season employees. Setting up the discussion from the beginning as one where one desires to hear all sort of different opinions, can be very fruitful both in the workplace and in the classroom.
Americans have been historically welcome in most of Hispanic America. With a few exceptions they are looked up to, resulting in deferential treatment.
This deferential and polite treatment should not be confused for weakness, lack of interest, and the like. Studies conducted some years ago showed African American children preferred White dolls. This has been changing as African Americans are less likely to discount their own contributions for an excellent discussion on contributions see Roger Brown's Social Psychology: The Second Edition , Free Press, I believe Hispanics are also valuing their contributions more than in the past, and less subservient behaviors will be observed.
Only through equality of respect between races and nations can we reach positive international relations in this global economy as well as peace at home. Cultural and ethnic stereotypes do little to foster this type of equality. Breaking through status barriers can take time and effort.
The amount of exertion will depend on many factors, including the skill of the manager teacher, volunteer on the one hand, and how alienated and disenfranchised from the main stream the person he is trying to reach feels. For example, in East Africa, a non-Black manager speaks to the Black African accountant and the accountant makes little eye contact and responds with submissive "Yes, Sirs" regardless of what he hears.
When the manager exits, this same accountant makes plenty of eye contact and is full of ideas and creativity when dealing with those of his same and different race. In another example, an adult class of Hispanic farm workers says nothing to their Anglo-Saxon instructor over a three day period--even though they do not understand what is being taught. This same group of farm workers, when given a chance to be active participants in the learning process, become, in the words of a second Anglo-Saxon instructor at the same junior college, "the best class of students I have ever taught.
In yet another case, an Anglo-Saxon adult educator finds that Hispanics are apt to listen politely but not ask questions. He advises others not to expect much participation from Hispanics.
A female Hispanic elsewhere wonders if those Hispanic farm workers she teaches don't participate because she is a woman. The first perceives that the lack of participation is somewhat inherent in the Hispanic population; the latter assumes her gender is the cause. Meanwhile, other Hispanic instructors create so much enthusiasm and active participation from the Hispanic audiences they work with, that those who walk by wonder what is going--and why participants seem to be having so much fun.
It is not a cultural difference if someone can totally involve a group into a discussion, within minutes, even when that group has had little experience with a more participatory method in the past. Stereotyping can have intense negative effects, especially when educators or managers make fewer attempts to involve those of other cultures because they have been taught not to expect participation!
Or do not realize there may be something wrong when a student or employee of a different ethnicity makes little eye contact with them. Faye Lee, a concerned Japanese-American wrote: As we interact with others of different cultures, there is no good substitute for receptiveness to interpersonal feedback, good observation skills, effective questions, and some horse sense. There is much to be gained by observing how people of the same culture interact with each other.
Don't be afraid to ask questions as most people respond very positively to inquiries about their culture. Ask a variety of people so you can get a balanced view. Making a genuine effort to find the positive historical, literary, and cultural contributions of a society; learning a few polite expressions in another person's language; and showing appreciation for the food and music of another culture can have especially positive effects. My contention, then, is not that there are no cultural differences.
These differences between cultures and peoples are real and can add richness and humor to the fabric of life. My assertion is that people everywhere have much in common, such as a need for affiliation and love, participation, and contribution. When the exterior is peeled off, there are not so many differences after all. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher and the author.
Printing this electronic Web page is permitted for personal, non-commercial use as long as the author and the University of California are credited. Articles Table of Contents. Or, are we really that different? Gregorio Billikopf University of California To all who took the proxemics survey between December and June a warm thank you! We are in the process of analyzing the data. Helping Others Resolve Differences , which you may download free here.
Commonality of humankind Differences between people within any given nation or culture are much greater than differences between groups. Cross-cultural and status barriers Sometimes, observations about cultural differences are based on scientific observation see, for instance, Argyle, Michael, Bodily Communication , 2nd ed. It is expected that you will respect the other person and treat them well.
Their needs are met at each encounter. This is a characteristic that unfortunately has fallen on the wayside in most American circles. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. I think that it is wrong to say that chinese people aren't sensitive to time.
For instance, my cousin usually is done with his report on the day it is given. Not all of the chinese people are insensitive to time. I was very interested on the Chinese approach towards business versus the American approach. While the article describes Chinese punctuality as more of a suggestion, further research showed that the Chinese view a lack of punctuality as offensive.
The considerations one must take into account are impressive, as there is a big difference between Chinese and American culture. It is, however, important to understand and recognize other cultures and their way of doing things. The article is somewhat limiting as it only describes the differences between American and Chinese business culture, and does not go into depth as to the general differences in the every day life of an American versus the daily life of a Chinese person.
There was also a considerable amount of bias present. The article was written from the perspective of an American, and it did not include Chinese perspectives on the way Americans do business.
USA and China, two very different empires". Your writings are very useful to me, Rebecca. I am quite suprised with some of the facts about Chinese culture and believe Americans need to apply some of these into our culture. I am impressed withhow much the Chinese care about morals and I think Americans should begin honering the dead, showing more respect, and showing humility to others. It's very important to help others to better the whole of society. However, there are some areas listed that I do not agree with.
Although it's important to help others, I don't think we should always look at the greater good but should always put ourselves before everyone else. A lot of people in society do not work as hard as others and do not deserve the same amount of rewards as everyone else. Another thing I do not agree with is the hierarchical system that the Chinese have in society.
I don't think we should just know what social class we are in and we jave to stay there and only socialize with those in the same class. I'd rather have the American way in which we communicate with everyonewe want to and can make it to the top if we really try in life.
I disagree with this authors' view of Chinese vs U. I have been working for and with Chinese business owners since It is a fact that they do not approach business as conducted in the U. First, Chinese business leads or representatives are in place, for the most part, as reps for the actual business owners who may be out of the country. So the group of investors may not actually be present or known. The reps will attempt to negotiate to the point of skirting around regulations or workarounds that may not necessarily be in alignment with sound business practices.
It happened right in front of me where the Chinse rep offered a lump sum of money just to try and have a fire inspector pass something I don't accept money and this is not going to happen any faster. I had to intervene and explain to her that she could not offer him money, etc. Secondly, there is little to no cognizant respect for, or abiding by, rules, regulations when it comes to business operations such as Human Resource standards, Accounting standards, etc.
Trust me I know first hand. It is almost as the perception is one of aloofness on many Chinese business owners where they just want things done but they don't care to consider repercussions, the thought is they can just pay their way out of it or they won't get caught.
Trust me, things don't work that way and I witness the clash on a daily basis to the point where I am desperately education my self further so I can leave untainted, I hope. Every point you have enumerated here as a "difference" was actually every bit part of white Christian male society in America prior to July 2, Oh, and you actually forgot one: Lacking these invasive kinds of laws has allowed China a great economic advantage over the West.
To Kill A Mocking Bird. In China, if one is in the wrong, for example causes an accident, it is common to make a huge display of anger and blame others including victims. Admitting you are in the wrong is not an option as it would cause you to lose face. The same habit manifests itself in a million ways.
Chinese are taught from primary school through graduate school about cultural differences between China and America: Chinese love their families, Chinese have honor, Chinese are modest, Chinese are caring, Chinese are generous, etc. This training is just another form of maintaining face in a society in which all such characteristics are almost totally absent. Chinese intellectuals the few and the noble also complain about China's moral and cultural crisis.
Unfortunately, all the stereotypes taught about Chinese culture in the West and in China are really just utopian speculation about what it might have been like before the cultural slate was wiped almost clean by Mao's social experiments. The present reality is a sort of every-man-for-himself society that only doesn't collapse because homogeneity of thought is enforced and life quality is steadily and rapidly improving.
But you readers probably don't want to know the truth, just go ahead and keep believing in some traditional China where honor and integrity rules It is simply a list of the stereotypes that are taught in the west about "Asian culture". Many of these things will hold true if you go to Japan, but are the exact opposite in mainland China.
Numbers 1 and 2 are fairly accurate, number 3 has absolutely nothing to do with the reality in China, numbers 4 and 5 reasonably accurate, number 6 is true with regarding marriage, but no one who has spent time in China would say that Chinese society places a high value on morals, number 7 somewhat true except most people don't make the yearly visits, number 8 again has nothing to do with the reality in China, number 9 not too far off, number 10 again, nothing to do with China.
Having lived in China, and been a supervisor of chinese managers, I can tell you that the 'loss of face' is not a positive trait. It is quite hard to deal with as an american.
The chinese would rather lie to you than admit they made a mistake in most instances. It is socially acceptable to lie if you screw up. And others don't want to bring shame to others so you basically have companies where no one really knows what is going on! Did you compile these points just by searching the Internet? It is very obvious that you never lived in China. The truth is very different than what you describe in many respects.
I don't see the people as you described. I live in So Calif, where there are many tens of thousands of Chinese people, so I have a lot of interaction with many Chinese recent immigrants, those who have been here for a long time, those who are descendants of immigrants, Chinese from Vietnam, etc. My interactions have been in school, business, and social settings.
I myself am Asian Amer, tho not Chinese. Without being too critical, I'd say that this article should not be taken too literally.
If truth is not essential,how do the courts function? I am trying to work my way through, of what appears to be contradictions. On one hand they chinese hold honor as an ultimate ideal but negate truth and confrontations. Polite confrontation can be fruitful. I am going to China in a few weeks and would like to behave as a proper guest. Can anyone shed some light in how they Chinese think. Very interesting exchange of opinions. And very obviously, some people have travelled the world and have had attained certain level of education and wisdom, while others regrettably did not have that privilege and sadly, are not aware of this.
Having moved countries, I can relate my interaction, dealings and transactions with different cultures to some of the points that you've mentioned. There are different cultures in different countries countries.
It's important to adapt to different cultures when visiting different countries. It will also give you a lot of insight on the cultural divide not only in business but even in politics. I've lived in China for 10 years doing business and the article is a biased, idealised version of what Chinese culture is.
Dig beneath the surface and the truth is vastly different - the bit about morals made me laugh especially. Unfortunately, after a very good start in Taiwan, my respect for the culture has gradually declined in the mainland, especially in business terms where incompetence, dishonesty and unreliability prevail.
However, as individuals people are generally friendly, social and very nice people, though it's rare to find someone with interesting or unpredictable views. Negative I know, but a little closer to the truth in my experience and, as I'm not American, I'm not saying American culture is better either. Respect, Honor, Humility you can find in all people who are raised correctly by their parents, but it isn't necessarily how all Chinese people are. You can find the same qualities in traditional households in the U.
S, just like you find them in traditional households in China. Thank you everyone for the information it is very useful when dealing with the Chinese, or if I ever decide to go to China. I live in China and some of the ideas brought up are a little bias on the Chinese side. Keeping face is a big sign of an insecure characteristic For example, a calculator, 0.
The radios announce "di, di, The TV stations embed digital time stamp on the screen. It was the most intriguing thing for me to understand in this technological advanced country.
So are most banks. You are the victim. S, the fact that the child although not yours has been with you for, say, 10 years, shows your "bond" with the child, and you can't divorce the women and even you do, you must continue to pay for the child support and she owe you nothing. Well, in China, people think New York is very dangerous place and killing and murders happening in every street on every day.
I just tweeted this story! Awesome and really useful! Everyone should be careful of the Chinese people are this and Chinese people believe in that, type of understanding. China has a history that is twenty times as long as that of the U. It has done some great things for mankind and has been equally as brutal and destructive. For all you business minded sorts who have just discovered China, you should understand that it has had the largest economy for 16 of the last 20 centuries.
It didn't just influence Japan and Korea and the rest of Asia in some cases it was the model. As a black man it is easy for me to recognize the prejudging and over simplification of a people because that type of thinking is easier than actually understanding the history and complexity of people as a group and as individuals.
So if you want some insight start with, I don't know , say The First Emperor and go from there. Very thought-provoking points here.
Especially important since China owns most of the US debt and could come to collect some day. Interesting post, although it leans towards "Americans needs to adapt to the way the Chinese do", with little reciprocity implied.
I think you missed my point.. I know it's entirely acceptable among both sexes in China; I just couldn't help but be disgusted by these everyday habits Thanks for sharing this useful information. But I also saw a lot of foreigners eating that delicious food with their adorable Chinese ladies: Looks like I can post only nice comment here after all happy married to Chinese Americans and Chinese I spent 6 years in China, I was interested when I just came to do my degree, after 4 years I felt I want to throw up after just smell of Chinese food at the street.
I've got a scholarship to do my Master degree here. So I decided to stay two more years. All my friends who stayed in China felt a bit sad leaving, they had nice time, China has a lot to discover, but no one wants to go back - nothing to do!
Just like some of my Chinese friends. If China is so wonderful stay in your country! People will spit around you, push you on a public transport,will trouble outside and you have to bargain for every thing you are buying. My friends who have wonderful Chinese ladies next to them say it is like having a puppy. Always jumping around, sticky, playful, "Are you hungry?
I don't believe the Chinese system cares much for others. The lower class are barely treated better than animals and remember, China is renouned for its astounding cruelty to animals, many of whom are skinned alive every day. If one looks under the surface, it is undeniably evident that in China, outer appearance is often the polar opposite of reality. People are SEEN to have high morals and be humble and respectful to people higher up the ladder..
I would be seen to have these qualities too if I lived in this very secretive, authoritarian country where I could disappear at any moment if I complain too much or I don't follow the many hypocritical rules! Thanks for this information. I wished I had accessed this a few months ago, when I took a couple of classes with my native Chinese professor. It would've helped me understand some nonverbal cues. He was one of the best professors I've ever had, and really cared about his students and their work.
I wish more American-born profs cared about their students like he did. Very informing and mind blowing indeed! The American system has largely been built upon Malthusiam Theory. This encouraged individualism, greed, inpatience, less care for others but at the same time, American system place high premium on quality and corporate aid to the weak. On the contrary, the Chinese system believes in team-work, care for others, patience, care for one another but I get disguested by the way China has mass produced and distributed volumes of inferior products around the globe.
Qauntum volumes of inferior products from China have left the Nigeria environment very petiable. Though, one can accuse their Nigeria business collaborator in this ignoble act but, the fact is that the Chinese people care less about standard.
More answers are needed for the world future. I benefited a lot from this presentation. This article was very interesting and helpful for my college assignment in my business coures, regarding social and cultural differences between America and China. Although this hub is 2 years old, it's interesting that China is just starting to play a global role openly.
My company deals with Chinese companies everyday. One business concept that stands out is American companies typically like to put together a contract or agreement first then do actual business.
They place high emphasis on making sure everything is perfect and specific. On the other hand Chinese companies want to do actual business first then deal with the contract or agreement later. And they place high emphasis on practical business experience and dealings with each other. Generally there are many "what if," questions left unanswered until the "what if" happens. I do noticed lately that there's a lot of chinese's that's been adopting the idea of an early marriage.
I am a Chinese, had grown up here in China. After I read the article, my first reaction is: Thank you again to present them. Help us to observe ourselves.
True, particulary toward seniors. In North America seniors are invisible. Maybe the boomers will change this. China machine shop, supply custom parts of precision parts, CNC machining parts, castings, fabricated components, shafts and pipe ftiings.
I have been to China five times and I am married to a wonderful Chinese lady. There are many differences in culture between China and the USA and it presents an interesting life in learning and blending of the cultures.
My comments for here is one of a tribute to the leadership and respect that I see in the Chinese government and for the great job the present leadership is doing in making China a leading nation.
I wish I could have an equal respect for my own government and I do respect the Constitution and laws that govern the USA, but a country can only be great if the rules are followed by everyone. Under the current administration of the USA many leaders put themselves above the law, have no respect for the Constitution and they are pulling America down rapidly. Overall the presentation was excellent. I have lived in China for over a year Chinese socialize with their children each day and they are up early to do morning exercise.
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