AC Bridge International Group (“AC Bridge” ）announced the release of “China and Australia Research Report on the Cultural Difference: Its Impact on the Operation of Chinese Enterprises and Countermeasures,” which sheds light on some of the key cultural differences between China and Australia. The Report analyses factors giving rise to contrasting values and practices of individuals and organisations in the two countries. In publishing the Report, AC Bridge aims to offer guidance to multinational companies eyeing business opportunities in China and Australia to help bridge misunderstandings arising from cultural and social differences and foster greater cross-cultural communications to facilitate international investment.
Economic globalization deepens cooperation between China and non-Chinese enterprises with diverse cultural backgrounds. Business and cultural partnerships between China and Australia over the past five decades have significantly strengthened the bilateral relationship and paved the way for the prospect of closer economic cooperation. As more companies and organizations from both countries seek to build up a broader consumer base in the two major economies in the Asia-Pacific region, it has become crucial for them to identify cultural and societal factors that lead to differences in systems, behavior, and approaches conducting business.
One of the factors that poses a striking contrast between the two societies is that China is a highly collectivist culture that values group cohesion over individual pursuits. In contrast, in line with other Western nations, Australia attaches greater importance to individualism that stresses autonomy and independence. In contrast, China’s tradition to respect structure means that Chinese decision-makers prefer to follow guidance from higher hierarchies. If decisions at the top are right and wise, they will be reflected in efficient and robust execution; if decisions are wrong, they will lead to more significant consequences yet remain uncorrected. Chinese also tend to emphasize morality and personal duty, unlike Australia, where egalitarianism underpins its national identity.
The Report defines China as a society with a high power distance in which employees tend to have great respect for their superiors and those in authority thanks to Confucianism, a dominating social and political philosophy adopted by Chinese rulers for over two thousand years. Consequently, Chinese employees are expected to conform to social norms and hierarchy while maintaining absolute loyalty and obedience to those in authority. In contrast, in Australia, people endorse a lower power distance culture due to the influence of Christian values, which holds that all people are equal in fundamental worth and moral status.
A relatively easy and equal social environment makes Australia a country with a low-context culture, meaning that employees in managerial positions welcome voices from lower-level workers and show adaptability. Communication between employees tends to be clear and direct. However, Chinese employees are exposed to a high-context culture in which straightforwardness is discouraged, are more reserved and tend to ask questions in a non-conflict way in the workplace.
The Report also finds that people in Australia and China have different views on their jobs and companies. Australians, like people in other western countries, are driven by a passion for work and are more willing to make an effort to achieve self-realization, which consequently catalysis corporate reform and transformation. Nonetheless, Australia’s traditional and conservative culture means slow adoption of new things and skeptical of change. Different generations in China have developed contrasting altitudes to their career lives. The post-70s and post-80s are still working to ‘survive better’ — seeking job stability and worrying about changes. But the post-90s and post-00s (Gen-Z) are rarely working for survival needs anymore. They enthusiastically welcome changes. Therefore, different workforce demographics have also resulted in different attitudes towards change within different companies.
The media landscape in China and Australia is different in system, regulations, and guiding principles. China upholds Marxist media theory, with Chinese enterprises following the CPC’s publicity guidelines. Journalism in Australia enjoys specific liberty under the News Media Bargaining Code, and the media is more decisive, more independent, and more assertive. Chinese unions are led by the Chinese Government in a top-down effort to improve workers’ welfare and working conditions. On the other hand, Australian unions advocate for workers’ welfare by organizing strikes, protesting in CBD streets, and negotiating directly with employers.
For more information, please feel free to download the full Report. We hope that it will help Australian and Chinese companies in their brand new but long-standing collaborations.
To read the Report, please visit http://www.business-circle.com.au/en/?p=5895
SOURCE: AC Bridge International Group